Russian foreign minister lambasts US over arms control

Vladimir Isachenkov
Associated Press

Moscow – Russia’s foreign minister said Friday that the world is becoming increasingly unstable because the U.S. doesn’t want to abide by arms control regimes.

Speaking at a conference on disarmament in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov accused the U.S. of seeing arms control treaties as a constraint to its efforts to boost its military.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“In the past few years, strategic stability has degraded to a point that is unprecedented in modern history,” he said. “The U.S. has continuously moved toward destruction of the international arms control system. It has become a drag for Washington, an undesirable restriction that limits the U.S. ability to expand its military potential around the world.”

Earlier this year, Russia and the U.S. both withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The U.S. said it pulled out because of Russian violations, a claim the Kremlin has denied.

Lavrov reaffirmed Russia’s pledge not to deploy missiles banned by the treaty until the U.S. does so, and criticized NATO allies for refusing to make a similar pledge.

He also noted that the U.S. appears reluctant to extend the New START treaty, the last remaining arms control deal between Russia and the U.S., which expires in 2021.

“Its extension would prevent the total collapse of the arms control mechanism and would give time to study approaches to control new military technologies,” Lavrov said. “Washington, however, has shunned serious talk and publicly sent negative signals about the treaty’s prospects.”

Russia-U.S. ties have sunk to the lowest levels since Cold War times amid the conflict in Ukraine and other tensions.

Lavrov noted that the expansion of the U.S. missile defense, Washington’s plans to deploy weapons in space and its efforts to develop low-yield nuclear weapons are among other top threats to strategic stability.

He named the U.S. reluctance to ratify a global nuclear test ban as a “major problem.”

“That threatens the fate of that pivotal document, which is the only verifiable international agreement on ending nuclear tests,” the minister said.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was adopted in 1996 but never entered force as eight nations, including the United States, haven’t ratified it.