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Russian Officials Comment on Strategic Stability and Relations with the U.S.

Jan. 28 , 2021 (EIRNS)—The Russian response to the Biden Administration’s initial policy towards Russia has been one of cautious optimism, tempered by the poor state of U.S.-Russian relations. Dmitry Polyanskiy, the Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative at the United Nations, responded to a question on what does Russia expect from the new administration, during an online press conference yesterday,

“Now we have a little bit more reasons to be optimistic, because, as you know, yesterday our leaders, our Presidents spoke on the phone and there was an agreement to prolong for five years the START treaty. Actually, this has been the core of our position for many years.” But, he continued: “We also note the composition of the external policy team of the new administration. We see a lot of faces who are not at all unfamiliar to us. We know the position of these people vis-à-vis Russia. We understand that they will bring at least some ‘luggage’ with them to their new positions. That’s why we are a bit cautious. Of course, we will be judging the new administration and its attitude towards Russia by its actions. So far, the first action that we saw yesterday is very positive. I would also like to inform you that today the Russian Parliament already ratified this prolongation. The ball is on the U.S. side, and we hope that it will be done very quickly.”

“If the attitude towards Russia is about containment, picturing Russia as a kind of a rogue state, a country that deserves isolation and sanctions without a dialogue, without an understanding what is behind the situation in the world politics that we see right now, I do not think there will be much of a breakthrough. We are not too pessimistic, we are realists,”

Polyanskiy went on.

Responding to a follow-up question specifically about the New START Treaty, Polyanskiy said that, “It does not deprive us of the possibility of a more all-embracing dialogue on strategic issues that we are ready to wage; we are ready to engage in any conversation on strategic issues on arms race.”

In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said during his press conference yesterday that Moscow will resume its proposals for establishing a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. “When Washington is finished with the process of forming its new team in charge of national security issues, including arms control, we will resume our proposals, of course, bring them to the fore again, and call for a meaningful dialogue. Not through microphones, not by means of exchanging comments in public, but in a normal fashion at the negotiating table,” Ryabkov said in reply to a question from TASS.

At the Kremlin, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov opened the door to the possible restoration of the Open Skies Treaty, should the U.S. show interest in that. “President Putin underscored that, after the U.S. decided to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, Russia was looking for ways, opportunities to remain in the treaty. However, these searches were fruitless, and negotiations with the Europeans brought nothing positive. In this regard, Russia has made its decision,” he said yesterday, reported TASS. “However, there is still a temporal lag, and if our American partners are ready to somehow continue the discussion, such opportunity still remains.”

Peskov reported that the two Presidents did not have time to discuss this issue in detail during the phone call. “But they did note that the discussion on the Open Skies Treaty can be continued,” the spokesman said.

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