Russian diplomat warns of risk to arms control with US

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

(Interfax – August 2, 2017)

Moscow, 2 August: Moscow’s possible countermeasures to the USA’s new anti-Russian sanctions may hypothetically affect agreements in the areas of disarmament and nonproliferation but any actions in this area have to meet Russia’s national interests, a Russian Foreign Ministry official has said.

“Anything is possible in life, and I would like to draw your attention, for instance, to the fact that we decided last October to suspend the operation of the bilateral agreement on the scrapping of weapons-grade plutonium. We made it very clear at the time that the decision was meant, among other things, to send a signal to Washington that it won’t do to impose sanctions with one hand and proffer the other for cooperation in the areas of interest to the USA. So there are precedents,” Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Nonproliferation and Arms Control Department, told Interfax on Wednesday [2 August] when asked whether Moscow’s steps in response could affect the area of disarmament and the treaties covering it.

“In this area, though – just as in others, – one has to act responsibly and match any step with one’s national interests, because what one cannot do in responding to unacceptable steps by partners is to take actions that run counter to our own interests,” he stressed.

In Ulyanov’s words, in the area of nonproliferation and arms control, “Russia and the USA, as the biggest powers militarily, as nuclear powers, have coinciding interests too”.

“This is the objective reality, which is recognised both in Washington and in Moscow, and it would be utterly injudicious to indiscriminately destroy everything in this area,” the senior diplomat noted.

“In my view, the agreements with the USA that exist in these areas match Russia’s needs quite well at the moment, and it is hardly worthwhile changing anything here. The situation may change though. Much depends on how the USA will act from now on,” he added.

[featured image is file photo]