U.S. Preparing Grounds to Scrap Key Nuclear Treaty, Lavrov Says

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. is preparing to wreck the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), a key accord with Russia on limiting nuclear weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“I have the impression that they are preparing the ground to destroy this document as well,” following the U.S. decision to withdraw from another nuclear accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Lavrov told a televised press conference in Milan on Friday after a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers. Russia has repeatedly sent proposals to the U.S. to begin talks on extending the START agreement but has received no response so far, he said.

The New START treaty signed in 2010, which followed on from a 1991 agreement, is due to expire in 2021. Under the accord, Russian and U.S. arsenals are restricted to no more than 1,550 strategic warheads on no more than 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said during a visit to Moscow in October that Washington “does not have a position that we’re prepared to negotiate” on a new START treaty, adding that there’s “plenty of time” before the deal expires.

  • NATO declined a Russian offer to discuss issues concerning the INF treaty within the Russia-NATO council, Lavrov said.
  • Any leniency toward Ukrainian naval crews arrested after clashes in the Kerch Strait near Crimea will only be possible after a court rules on charges they face.
  • The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, is another sign of U.S. “arrogance” regarding extraterritorial applications of its national laws, Lavrov said.
  • NOTE: Russia Threatens to Target U.S. Allies If Trump Exits Treaty

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.