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Moscow: Resumption of New START Treaty Unlikely Due to 'Hostile' U.S.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Kremlin sees no point in resuming talks with the United States on the New START nuclear arms control treaty, a senior diplomat said Wednesday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called Moscow’s recent suspension of New START, the last remaining arms control agreement between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, “almost inevitable” given the “cumulative circumstances of the destructive and hostile actions of the U.S.”

“I don’t think there’s any reason to discuss New START with the U.S.,” Ryabkov told Kommersant at an event called “A World Without START: What Next?”

Washington has urged Moscow to reverse President Vladimir Putin’s February decision to suspend Russian participation in the New START treaty, which Putin subsequently signed into law on Feb. 28.

Ryabkov stressed that even formal moves to resume talks “would be a violation of federal law on our part,” Kommersant reported.

New START, which Moscow and Washington signed in 2010 and have since extended to 2026, caps the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads held by the world's two largest nuclear powers at 1,550 each.

Ryabkov said the risk of nuclear war between Russia and the U.S. was at its highest level in decades, with Washington’s support for Ukraine meaning Russian-U.S. ties were "in a de facto state of open conflict.”

Ryabkov said the U.S. would have to “change its hostile policy toward Russia” for Moscow to return to New START.

“It’s more wide-ranging than ‘negotiating on Ukraine’,” Ryabkov told Kommersant.

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