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Antonov on Strategic Stability—the Limits and Potentials of the Putin-Biden Summit

July 13, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov addressed the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, on July 12, for its annual Summer Symposium of the Institute on the subject of the Russian Federation. The speech is posted to the Embassy’s Facebook page. The ambassador, speaking in Russian to both American and Russian students, opened his remarks by discussing the Geneva summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin on June 16, saying that although it did not lead to a significant improvement of bilateral relations, it has created the decision for a comprehensive dialogue.

“Contrary to the negative mood fueled by U.S. media outlets in the run-up to the summit, the talks at the highest level were held in a calm, business-like and, in general, constructive environment. With all remaining contradictions, the two countries’ leaders agreed there is the need to bring closer positions and reduce confrontation in Russian-U.S. relations,” he said, according to TASS.

“We don’t cherish illusions on pivotal breakthroughs. Over the past years, too many mutual claims and contradictions have accumulated, which cannot be resolved in a single jerk. However, there are opportunities for positive dynamics. They are opened by achieving the understanding about the advisability of restoring systemic contacts on key issues of the bilateral and international agenda.

“The most important agreement at the summit, confirmed in a joint statement on strategic stability, was a decision to launch comprehensive dialogue. Along with extending the New START early this year, this is another step of Washington in the direction of common sense and greater responsibility in international affairs.”

He also pointed to the Presidents’ joint communiqué confirming the formula 35 years ago between Reagan and Gorbachev, “that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” and stressed that it encourages Moscow and Washington to show greater responsibility in international affairs. He described the Presidents as agreeing, “it is necessary to make every effort to prevent any armed conflict between our countries, which could inevitably trigger escalation up to a nuclear level. We expect in the coming weeks to hold a kick-off meeting between delegations of agencies led by deputy foreign ministers. The point of departure could be a review of the current concerns in the strategic field, which both sides have.” He continued, Russia believes that strategic dialogue should be aimed at developing a new “security equation” which “should cover all offensive and defensive weapons in nuclear and non-nuclear equipment capable of solving strategic tasks. We are talking about missile defense, predictability and restraint in the missile field since the termination of the INF Treaty, prevention of space arms race, destabilizing military technology, response to nuclear escalation crisis.”

Antonov further raised the priority of working together for cyber security. He continued:

“By the way, according to U.S. sources, most cyber attacks worldwide are carried out from electronic addresses on U.S. soil. In 2020, there were 45 cyber attacks registered against Russian facilities, 35 of which were coordinated from America.

“I would like to point out that a few days ago [on July 9] our Presidents had a phone conversation and discussed cybersecurity in detail. The leaders emphasized the need for substantive and constructive cooperation in this field and continuing respective contacts. In particular, Vladimir Putin noted that Russian-U.S. cooperation should be of permanent, professional and non-politicized.”

Antonov addressed the unanimous passing of a UN Security Council resolution jointly drafted by the U.S. and Russia for cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria, remarking: “We believe that this decision will contribute to achieving political settlement in the [Syrian] Arab Republic as soon as possible and to stabilizing the Middle East in general.”

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