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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has firmly rejected a US proposal to resume nuclear arms control talks, citing the ongoing war with Ukraine as a significant barrier.
During his annual news conference in Moscow, Lavrov stated, “We do not see the slightest interest on the part of either the United States or NATO to settle the Ukrainian conflict and listen to Russia’s concerns.”
Lavrov’s response follows White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s indication that the US is open to renewing bilateral arms control discussions “without preconditions.” However, Lavrov criticized the US’s intentions, saying, “We have declared you an enemy, but we’re ready to talk about how we could look at your strategic nuclear arsenal again, that’s something different.” He accused the US of trying to control Russia’s nuclear arsenal while pointing out that risks are emerging due to the US’s forceful pressure on Russia.
The tension over resuming talks raises concerns about a potential arms race, especially with the New START treaty set to expire in 2026. This treaty, signed in 2010, limits US and Russian nuclear weapons and allows for on-site inspections to ensure compliance. However, inspections were halted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have not resumed since.
The Biden administration has maintained strong support for Ukraine in its war with Russia, with proposed funding currently facing challenges in the US Congress. Lavrov warned, “Such encouragement and the transfer of relevant weapons shows that the West doesn’t want any constructive solution.” He also accused the West of pushing toward the escalation of the Ukrainian war.