Sergei Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia
Photo: MAXIM SHEMETOV / REUTERS
Since 1991, the joint Start Agreement has regulated the disarmament of nuclear weapons between the USA and Russia.
As a result of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Moscow initially suspended joint controls - now the Kremlin is flirting with a complete end to the agreement, which was last reactivated as New Start.
It is "a very likely scenario" that New Start will not be extended after 2026, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the RIA news agency.
Very »selfish interests«
A year ago, shortly before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden and Russia's head of state Vladimir Putin agreed to extend New Start until February 2026.
If both sides do not agree on new guidelines, it then ends.
Most recently, talks about an extension in November failed.
Since then, neither Washington nor Moscow have been able to agree on the terms for new talks.
Washington is guided by very "selfish interests," Ryabkov claimed.
That makes talks about joint arms controls difficult.
Apparently, an end to New Start is not in the Kremlin's interest, and the United States is to blame for the end of the talks.
Recently, Washington has always said that it is ready for new negotiations.
New Start is the only remaining major arms control agreement between the US and Russia.
The treaty limits the nuclear arsenals of both countries to 800 delivery systems and 1,550 operational warheads each.
The inspections have been suspended since March 2020 due to the corona pandemic – then after the invasion, Russian inspectors were made unable to enter the USA.
Moscow then paused entry for US inspectors without suspending the contract itself.