Everything was ready to celebrate what was destined to be the first meeting between the US and Russian governments since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24.
But the Kremlin unilaterally canceled it late on Monday.
The long-awaited meeting to resume supervision of the New Start Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was to take place between November 29 and December 6 in Cairo, but it will have to wait.
Despite the sit-in, Washington's response has been moderate and has advocated holding it "as soon as possible."
“The previously scheduled session of the bilateral consultative commission on the US-Russian START Treaty in Cairo will not take place on the dates indicated.
The event is postponed to a later date," the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed.
From the United States, the State Department has confirmed the cancellation of the talks to reinstate inspections of nuclear arsenals just one day before they were scheduled to begin, and has insisted that the decision has come "unilaterally" from Russia,
Macarena Vidal Liy
reports from Washington .
Washington's intention, a spokesman has assured, is to set a new date "for as soon as possible" to re-establish the consultations.
The communication from Moscow announcing the cancellation, the US spokesman has indicated, occurred "recently".
Moscow has not explained the reasons for its sudden cancellation of the appointment.
Three weeks ago, the Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, María Zajárova, acknowledged that both parties have maintained "specific contacts" for months and showed the Kremlin's willingness to "any type of dialogue that is beneficial to both sides", although she stressed that this " It has nothing to do with the concept of full-blown relationships.”
As revealed by
The Washington Post
, Joe Biden's chief national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrúshev, had talked several times in recent times to avoid a military escalation between the two powers.
The representative of the UN Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric, also lamented the news: “Obviously, we are concerned about the general direction of disarmament negotiations of late;
They are going in the opposite direction that we would like.”
The New Start treaty was signed in 2010 by the then presidents of the United States, Barack Obama, and Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, and was extended in 2021 for another five years.
It is the only one of the pacts that both countries maintain to avoid a military race after the rupture in recent years of the Open Skies Agreement and the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces.
Among other objectives, Moscow wanted to address in these new meetings whether Washington had added some missiles to its nuclear arsenal or used them only to carry conventional weapons, while the North American country wanted to resume inspections of Russian nuclear facilities after having been suspended since start of the pandemic in early 2020. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov dismissed this demand as "a whim" despite the fact that being able to visit the arsenals several times a year is an essential part of the New Start.
In the contacts between Moscow and Washington regarding this treaty, it was ruled out holding their meetings in Switzerland again, where they were held in the past, due to the alignment of the Central European country with its sanctions against Russia for the war in Ukraine.
Gas for Moldova
Energy remains a weapon, especially in winter, and Moscow pledged on Monday to continue sending gas to Moldova and not to cut off the Kazakh oil tap to the European Union.
The Russian gas giant Gazprom assured these days that Ukraine kept part of the gas that transits through its territory to Moldova, an accusation that the two affected countries denied.
According to Chisinau, this gas was stored in Ukrainian deposits because Moldova does not have this type of infrastructure.
Moscow set this Monday as the deadline for its ultimatum before reducing its supplies to Chisinau, but first thing in the morning it dropped its threat.
“The Moldovagaz company has resolved irregularities in the payment to Gazprom for Russian gas supplies for November.
Gazprom received the funds for the gas deposited in Ukraine and which was destined for Moldovan consumers.
In this sense, it was decided not to reduce the supply of gas for transit to Moldova," the Kremlin company reported.
On the other hand, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, received the recently re-elected president of Kazakhstan, Kasim-Yomart Tokáyev, in Moscow on Monday and promised not to block one of his main sources of income: the shipment of crude oil to the European Union. .
The Kremlin has not only used energy as a weapon against Europe in the past, it also used it against Kazakhstan in the summer.
In July, amidst tension over Tokayev's public statements in favor of complying with the sanctions against Moscow, a Russian court was about to cut off the spigot of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) on its way to the port of Novorossiysk, in the Black Sea, where it is loaded onto tankers on its way to Europe.
The judge argued alleged irregularities in the documentation of the Kazakh state oil company's response plan to a spill, although the one-month suspension was finally replaced by a fine of 200,000 rubles (about 3,140 euros, at current exchange rates).
Kazakhstan, which supplies more than 6% of the European Union's total crude demand, then decided to negotiate with Azerbaijan to divert part of its supply to a pipeline directed to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
Precisely, both Baku and Astana have strengthened their ties with Brussels in recent months by taking advantage of the fact that the European Union wants to reduce its energy independence from Moscow.
In this context, Putin and Tokáyev have signed on Monday not to use the CPC passage as a tool to put pressure on Astana.
Both leaders have pledged that the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan will provide each other with "favorable technical and economic conditions for the transit of energy resources through their territories to third countries."
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