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MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Russia and the United States are unlikely to reach new agreements on reduction of strategic offensive arms soon, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday.
"It seems to be unlikely to reach new agreements between Russia and the United States in the near future, if ever. Russia’s security now depends not only on the balance of strategic nuclear weapons of Russia and the United States. It depends on many other factors, such as US global missile defense plans, the situation in the area of sea-based long-distance cruise missiles and other types of long-distance high-precision systems," he told journalists.
He said that nuclear weapons of Washington’s NATO allies should be taken into account too. "Other important aspects are the balance of conventional forces and numerous military bases with developing military infrastructure in the proximity of the Russian borders," Antonov noted.
Of special concern, in his words, are plans to deploy weapons in outer space.
"All nuclear powers are being involved in the process of reduction of nuclear forces. Can Russia ignore all these factors? Of course, no," he said. "Serious consultations on the entire spectrum of these problems are needed before serious talks."
Deputy Director of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department on Security Affairs and Disarmament Vladimir Leontyev said last week Russia was not looking at reviewing its obligations under the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). "At a certain stage [in the future], Russia will probably have to analyze observance of START treaty in connection with [NATO’s] plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe," Leontyev said. "However, the issue is not on the agenda at the moment. "We are attentively following and analyzing the situation, and will continue doing so."