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ASTANA, October 4. /TASS/. The Kremlin regrets that the potential of US unfriendly steps towards Russia has a tendency to grow, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
He recalled that Washington’s unfriendly actions had caused a decision to suspend an agreement on plutonium disposition. "I would not make far-reaching plans," Peskov said when asked whether Russia’s withdrawal from other agreements will follow as well. "However, in general, of course, the potential of unfriendly steps, unconstructive steps towards Russia, much to our regret, has a tendency to grow."
The Kremlin spokesman added that "all this, unfortunately, does not contribute to normalizing our bilateral relations."
According to the official, Russia is still interested in improving relations with the United States to ensure global stability and security.
"Moscow is still interested in improving relations and their development and use of these relations so that Russia and the US fulfill their functions to ensure global stability and security," Peskov told reporters.
When asked if Russia could withdraw from other agreements with the US, Peskov said he would not make "far-reaching conclusions."
Peskov said the presidential bill on the plutonium agreement suspension states "what exactly Moscow considers unfriendly steps towards Russia made by the US."
According to the top official, the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium is very expensive and Russia cannot spend money on the fulfillment of the relevant agreement alone and in the conditions of sanctions.
"Russia was spending this money to ensure the fulfillment of its obligations. At the moment it would be unreasonable to spend these funds alone and in the conditions of the sanctions regime," he said.
"Implementation of this agreement [on disposal of weapons-grade plutonium] by Russia is impossible," Peskov said, adding that the list of conditions for possible resumption of the agreement is just a "statement of the fact" of the United States’ non-fulfilment of the bilateral agreement’s provisions rather than a step geared to prompt the United States to accept Russia’s terms.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted to the Russian State Duma lower parliament house a bill on suspending the agreement with the United States on the disposal of redundant weapons-grade plutonium. The bill lists conditions on which the agreement could be resumed, including cancellation of the so-called Magnitsky Act, lifting of all anti-Russian sanctions with compensation of the damage, as well as reduction of US military infrastructure in NATO countries.
"I don’t think the wording ‘conditions set by Russia’ is appropriate in this context as it is just a list of what we think unfriendly moves in our address, or it is rather a detailed backing for the reasons for the president’s decision [on withdrawal from the plutonium deal with the United States]," Peskov noted. "It doesn’t seek to make the plutonium agreement resumption dependent on sanction lifting. There are no such links, it’s just a statement of the fact," he repeated.
The agreement with the United States was signed on August 29, 2000. It envisaged ways of disposing of excessive weapons grade plutonium in Russia and the United States, including the production of mixed oxide fuel to be used in nuclear power reactors, conversion into non-weapons-grade form and also burial. It was expected that either side will start eliminating "declassified" amounts of plutonium in an amount of 34 tonnes. Russia converts weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants.