Moscow and Washington currently have no common ground on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday in remarks at the Valdai Forum, according to state outlet RIA Novosti.
“There is simply no common ground here. I don’t think that there are any grounds now for discussing the New START issue with the United States,” Ryabkov said of the agreement.
According to Ryabkov, Russia cannot even consider notifications from the American side under the treaty, because from a formal point of view, the contract has been suspended.
“This would be a violation of federal law on our part,” he said.
Ryabkov added that Moscow’s condition for returning to START discussions is “a change in the US hostile course towards Russia.”
The American counterparts have to “accept the reality for what it is,” he added.
Some more context: Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was suspending his country’s participation in the nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States, imperiling the last remaining pact that regulates the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.
Putin made the declaration in his much-delayed annual state of the nation address to Russia’s National Assembly. Hours after Putin’s speech, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the decision to suspend participation in the treaty was “reversible.”
The treaty puts limits on the number of deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons that both the US and Russia can have. It was last extended in early 2021 for five years, meaning the two sides would soon need to begin negotiating on another arms control agreement.