Russia ‘Ready’ to Consider Further Nuclear Arms Cuts

MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow has not received any specific proposals from the United States concerning deeper cuts in strategic nuclear arsenals, but if they do come, it is ready to study them, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

His comments came in response to media reports that the US administration is preparing some new initiatives in this area.

“We have not as yet received any concrete proposals for further reductions of strategic nuclear arsenals. If any proposals come, we will certainly study them very thoroughly,” he said.

Moscow’s current priority is the implementation of the Russian-US New START Treaty, Lukashevich said.

“After the Treaty is implemented we would be ready to discuss further possible steps in the nuclear disarmament sphere,” he said, adding that Moscow will take all strategic stability factors into consideration, including the US plans to deploy missile defense elements in Europe.

The New START deal was signed by the US and Russian presidents in Prague in April 2010 and entered into force in February 2011. It cuts both nations’ nuclear arsenals to 1,550 nuclear warheads.

According to some media reports, senior US administration officials believe the number of US nuclear warheads could be cut by at least a third without harming national security.

Preliminary discussions occurred in Munich on February 2 between Vice President Joe Biden and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and additional talks are slated to take place in Moscow this month with Acting Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller and White House National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon, NBC news reported.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on January 31 that President Barack Obama “believes that there’s room to explore the potential for continued reductions, and that, of course, the best way to do so is in a discussion with Russia,” he was quoted by NBC news as saying.


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