Inter-American problems and regional policy
Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the NATO secretary general’s statements regarding prospects of the New START Treaty
We have noted the statements made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a news conference on November 30 in connection with the meeting of the NATO foreign ministers on December 1-2. He said, in part, that at this meeting the participants were planning to discuss approaches to maintaining arms control regime, including “limitations on nuclear warheads, as the New START Treaty is due to expire next February.”
We could only welcome NATO’s decision to finally express concern over the arms control situation that is inexorably going from bad to worse as a result of the consistent destruction by the United States of treaties and agreements in this sphere. However, it is perplexing that the NATO secretary general talks about the treaty’s expiration as something predetermined although the absolute majority of the NATO members, if we are to believe their representatives, support the extension of the treaty. In this context, we would like to understand why Jens Stoltenberg is so convinced that the New START Treaty has no prospects.
Russia has repeatedly expressed its support for the unreserved extension of the New START Treaty in the form in which it was signed. It officially made a proposal to the other party to the treaty, the United States, in December 2019 and has reaffirmed it more than once since then. It is abundantly clear that the treaty’s extension would presuppose the preservation of all restrictions stated in New SRART, both strategic delivery vehicles and nuclear charges.
It is equally important that the treaty’s extension would buy time for comprehensive Russian-US talks on future nuclear missile arms control with due consideration for all factors that have an impact on strategic stability. Russia has presented specific ideas on this score. Now the ball is in Washington’s court.
Given these considerations, it would be more appropriate for the NATO Secretariat to urge the Americans to begin work on extending the New START Treaty and constructive efforts on enhancing strategic stability and arms control.
In addition, we would like to remind NATO and its secretary general about Russia’s proposals to deescalate tension in Europe in view of the discontinuation of the INF Treaty, which provided for reciprocal verifiable moratoriums on the deployment of medium and shorter range missiles in Europe. Russia proposed practical measures that could directly help both Russia and the NATO countries remove their concerns in this sphere. It seems a detailed discussion of the Russian proposals would make the current NATO ministerial meeting much more effective for enhancing Euro-Atlantic security and stability.
In any event, it would be more useful to do this than make absurd accusations about Russia’s build-up of its military potential “around” NATO.