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A Russian source in Moscow’s embassy in Washington said the country is concerned with a lack of trust between the two countries, and won’t renew the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty because of it. The US and Russia’s New START deal was signed in 2010 and will expire in February next year, with the treaty limiting the amount of nuclear weapons both countries can stockpile. It comes as relations between the two countries have frosted over as the US election draws closer.
Speaking to Newsweek, the anonymous source said Moscow is suspicious Washington is attempting to undermine its military.
Because of the military fears, the embassy source claimed discussions on extending the New START have hit a deadlock.
They said: “We are concerned about the deep crisis of confidence in relations between the two leading nuclear powers.
“We need to remember that strategic issues have always been the cornerstone of our relations under any circumstances.
“We hope that the United States will carry out a policy that does not seek military advantage over Russia.”
It comes after confusion broke out over whether the US and Russia had made a “gentlemen’s agreement” to extend the nuclear treaty.
Marshall Billingsea, a US diplomat for arms control, touted consensus between Moscow and Washington “at the highest levels” to extend New START.
He said, speaking to the Heritage Foundation: “We’re ready to strike this deal. We could strike it tomorrow in fact.
“But Moscow is going to have to show the political will to do so as well.”
Russia denied Mr Billingsea’s claims an “agreement in principle” had been reached with the US on Tuesday over extending New START.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, blasted the US proposals to resign the treaty as “unacceptable”.
He added the President Donald Trump’s should not expect Russia to sign any arms control agreement “timed to coincide with their elections.”
The minister also said: “Washington is describing what is desired, not what is real.”
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New START is the last remaining nuclear treaty in place between Moscow and Washington.
Mr Trump has criticised the current terms of the agreement, signed by predecessor President Barack Obama, as it does not cover all of Russia’s nuclear weapons and does not include China.
In 2019, the President pulled the US out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, which had been in place since 1987.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time: “Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise.”
A top Russian official has also warned ties between Washington and Moscow are unlikely to change after November 3.
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, spoked to Russian radio stations to claim the country has become “one of key masters of America’s destiny.”
He added, mocking claims of Russian interference in the US election: “So why on earth should we spend money when we already have the authority?”
Mr Lavrov then said Russia will cooperate with whoever wins the US election, and said: “This is our principal position. Here I think we should not change anything.”
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