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Kremlin says nuclear arms dialogue with US is necessary but not ready to be lectured

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LA Post: Kremlin says nuclear arms dialogue with US is necessary but not ready to be lectured
Reuters
Guy Faulconbridge
November 08, 2023

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Wednesday that strategic dialogue with the United States over nuclear weapons was "definitely necessary" but that such talks could not happen while Washington was "lecturing" Moscow.

Russia and the United States, by far the biggest nuclear powers, have both expressed regret about the steady disintegration of arms control treaties which sought to slow the Cold War arms race and reduce the risk of nuclear war.

Russia on Tuesday formally withdrew from a landmark security treaty which limited key categories of conventional armed forces, citing what it regarded as the unacceptable expansion of the NATO military alliance. NATO said its members would suspend the same treaty's operation in response.

When asked about the prospect of strategic dialogue on nuclear weapons with the United States and the West, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

"Dialogue is unequivocally necessary. (But) it cannot take place in a situation where one country lectures another country. We do not accept such a situation.

"But we believe that dialogue is essential. And we are certainly ready to start it. But so far the actual situation has not changed in any way."

The war in Ukraine has triggered the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the depths of the Cold War, though the architecture of post-Cold War security was already crumbling before the conflict.

After fears of a nuclear war were triggered by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States and the Soviet Union sought to slow the arms race with what ultimately became a tangle of arms control agreements which gave each side greater understanding of their foe's arsenal and capability.

DANGER AHEAD

But much of that architecture has since frayed and President Vladimir Putin last week signed a law revoking ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty in order to bring Moscow into line with the U.S. position. Putin has said he is not ready to say if Russia will resume testing.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said earlier on Wednesday that the international arms control regime has been undermined and blamed the West for what he said was an increased risk of the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

When asked about the remarks, the Kremlin's Peskov said: "Patrushev is the secretary of the Security Council. He is part of the Kremlin. And his statements are statements from the Kremlin.

"As for the Russian Federation, we have a (nuclear) doctrine where everything is clearly spelled out. There are no changes. This is confirmed by the president," Peskov said.

(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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