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Russia Says U.S. Must End 'Hostility' for Nuclear Talks

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. duma.gov.ru

Russia said Wednesday it would study U.S. proposals to resume dialogue on nuclear arms control, but that it would not accept them unless Washington dropped its "hostile" stance towards Moscow.

The U.S. and Russia used to regularly inspect each other's nuclear facilities and limit warheads under the New START treaty, but Moscow suspended the treaty in February amid tensions over Ukraine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies that Moscow had received an informal memo from the U.S. calling for renewed dialogue, but that talks were out of the question for now.

"The (U.S.) suggests putting dialogue on strategic stability and arms control on a systematic footing, doing so in isolation from everything that is going on," Ryabkov said.

"We are not ready for this," he added.

"It is simply impossible to return to dialogue on strategic stability, including New START... without changes in the United States' deeply, fundamentally hostile course towards Russia," he said.

He said that Moscow was studying Washington's proposals in a "calm manner" and that it would respond in due time.

Ryabkov's comments came as Russian lawmakers advanced a bill revoking Moscow's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, abandoning a landmark agreement outlawing nuclear weapons tests.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly invoked Russia's nuclear doctrine since launching hostilities against Ukraine last year, triggering Western accusations of reckless nuclear rhetoric.

New START, the last remaining bilateral nuclear weapons treaty between Washington and Moscow, will expire in February 2026 and relations between the two have shown no signs of improvement.

Last year, Putin said he was "not bluffing" about his readiness to use destructive weapons should Russia face an existential threat, and earlier this month mulled resuming live nuclear tests.

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