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Ryabkov Cautions There Can Not Be a One Way Street with U.S.-Russian Talks

June 23 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov keynoted a video session of the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference on June 22, stating: “Our hope is that the pragmatic approach will prevail, like in the situation with the extension of the Treaty on the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), and the U.S. will look for solutions together with Russia. For it to happen, the talks should be based on reciprocity. We are not going to move down a one-way traffic street. There cannot be any unilateral concessions on our side, in this sensitive area,” TASS quoted him as saying.

“Our colleagues in Washington should see it as a matter of course,” he continued. “If the political will from both sides is strong enough to respect the balance of interests, then the agreements can ensure transformation of the world into a much safer place.”

He also stressed Russia will not join the U.S. attempts to expand the arms control regime to other countries: “We will not join in the U.S. efforts to either pressure or convince others to join just because some think that it is time to move to a trilateral or multilateral format. It is not up for discussion.”

One of Russia’s key issues of concern, with the end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) as of 2019, is control over short-and medium-range missiles:

“We are convinced that the issue of land-based intermediate and shorter-range missiles, whether nuclear or conventional, requires priority attention. Russia has proposed an initiative aimed at maintenance of predictability and restraint in this area, including through reciprocal verification and confidence-building measures....

“Moreover, as a gesture of good will, we will include in our moratorium the 9M729 missile, that has a range below the INF limit. We strongly reject NATO claims that these missiles fell into scope of the INF treaty,” he continued. “To claim otherwise means to create a deliberately false picture and to cover up the actions of those who bear the actual responsibility for the current situation....

“Let me also state it again: we have proposed to develop verification and confidence-building regime for a mutual moratorium on ground-based INF missile deployment. This is an honest offer. We will still be prepared to discuss the urgent matter of restraint on missiles on the basis of mutual respect for each other’s concerns. We hope that our potential counterparts will choose wisely and act in a responsible manner.”

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