US Wants Russia on the Table for Renewed Nuclear Arms Dialogue
While the US wants renewed dialogue on nuclear arms control, Russia says talks are out of the question for now. Russia has called on Washington to drop its hostile stance towards Moscow.
In 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin is open to dialogue on ensuring strategic stability, preserving agreements on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and improving the situation in arms control.
The US President Joe Biden had also said they would continue engagement with Moscow. “My administration is committed to reducing the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons, protecting the American people, and reinvigorating the global nuclear order to reduce the risk of use and proliferation of nuclear weapons.”
Russia and US Shy From Talks
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, confirmed that Moscow received an informal memo from the US calling for renewed dialogue. “The US suggests putting dialogue on strategic dialogue on strategic stability and arms control on a systematic footing, doing so in isolation from everything that is going on. We are not ready for this.”
Ryabkov said it’s impossible to return to dialogue on strategic stability, including New START without changes in the US’ deeply, fundamentally hostile course towards Russia. He added that the Kremlin was looking into Washington’s proposal calmly and would respond in due time.
A senior US official had earlier said it’s almost impossible to imagine how the dialogue might resume before the last treaty limiting the Russian and US nuclear arsenals expires in 2026. Mallory Stewart, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, said it’s very hard to figure out how the US can sit and think that Washington’s diplomacy will be taken seriously given Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Nuclear Arms Treaty New START
The 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) is set to expire in February 2026. It cannot be extended. Biden and Putin announced in 2021 that the US and Russia would conduct a strategic stability dialogue to lay groundwork for future restraints.
After Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow refused to allow the US to conduct an onsite inspection at one of its military bases as per the treaty. The Kremlin also backed away from meetings to discuss matters related to the treaty’s implementation.
The US State Department, in January 2023, said it could no longer certify that Russia was complying with the treaty. A month later, Putin suspended Russia’s participation in New START. He said Moscow will no longer exchange required information on the status of its nuclear forces.