Moscow confirmed on Tuesday that it has “no choice” but to cancel talks with the United States on inspections under the “New START” treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Washington wants to discuss resuming inspections while Moscow has other priorities.
Although local news agencies quoted Ryabkov, Questa meeting between the two sides is unlikely to be held this year.
Postponement of the meeting
Yesterday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced the postponement of the meeting between Russia and the United States to discuss the possibility of resuming the inspections foreseen by the “New START” treaty.
While Moscow has not provided a justification for postponing the scheduled meeting in Cairo, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said: “We have not received a real response from the Russians to explain why they to postpone the meeting.”
Kirby expressed his wish to resume talks “as soon as possible”, underlining “the importance of the issue not only for the two countries, but also for the rest of the world”.
The delay comes in the ninth month of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, at one moment when tensions between Moscow and the West are at their peak.
Washington announced the meeting in early November and expressed hope for a “constructive” meeting, noting the importance of continuing dialogue with the Russians on “risk reduction” despite the war in Ukraine.
What is the ‘New Start’ Treaty?
Interestingly, the “New START” (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty is the latest bilateral agreement linking the world’s two largest nuclear powers.
Signed in 2010, the treaty limits the two nuclear powers’ arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads each, a reduction of nearly 30 percent from the previous cap set in 2002.
It also limits the number of strategic launch vehicles and heavy bombers to 800, enough to destroy the Earth many times.
In January 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin extended the treaty for five years until 2026.
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