Russia Believes US-Proposed Stronger Control Measures In New START Inconceivable - Ryabkov

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd September, 2020) Moscow considers it inconceivable to strengthen control and verification measures in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which was announced by the US special envoy Marshall Billingslea, there is no reason to change anything and there will be no return to the practice of the late 1990s, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Monday.

Billingslea earlier said that Russia and the United States needed to eliminate the "hole" on issues of checks and data exchange in the New START before the conclusion of a new arms treaty.

"The New START verification regime has been precisely calibrated in accordance with the tasks that this treaty solves. This regime is sufficient to provide reliable confidence in what is happening, the Treaty provides predictability at a high level, and there is no reason to change anything in this area. It is simply impossible to imagine measures in this area that would meet the interests of our security. Accordingly, everything that Marshall Billingslea is talking about is a requesting position, which, in his understanding, should be implemented, since it meets the interests of US security, " Ryabkov said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper, commenting on Billingslea's statement.

"We are ready to negotiate. But this is a very complex issue, many aspects of which require clarification. In any case, there can be no return to the practice that existed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The current agreement meets the needs and spirit of the times. Under conditions when relations between our countries are very tense and there is no trust in them, such intrusive measures of control, which the US side speaks of, seem to me simply inconceivable," the deputy foreign minister stressed.

The United States in every possible way avoids discussing the topic of withdrawing its non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe, Ryabkov also said.

"The United States refuses to withdraw its non-strategic assets, that is, free fall bombs, gravity bombs, from Europe. They are not ready to eliminate the infrastructure where these bombs are located so that they cannot be quickly returned if a decision is made to return to European territory after a hypothetical withdrawal. They avoid discussing all aspects of our position on the need to get rid of this factor, which directly affects our security," Ryabkov said.