MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. An issue of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is not on Russia’s agenda at the moment due to unstable global situation concerning the strategic balance, Mikhail Ulyanov, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, said on Wednesday.
In an interview with Kommersant daily, Ulyanov said that "no one will be able to answer the question at the moment whether a new treaty on the strategic arms reduction would be concluded."
"At least this issue is currently not on our [Russia’s] agenda," the diplomat said adding it was because that "since the end of the Cold War era there had never been such an unfavorable situation for continuing talks on the nuclear disarmament."
"The situation concerning the strategic stability is very uncertain today," Ulyanov said. "It goes for what we [Russia] have repeatedly stated about and it is the US missile shield, which is being upgraded and changes a lot in the modern world, the possible deployment of weapons in space as well as misbalances in the sphere of conventional weapons."
Russia and US-led NATO have been in a long dispute over US missile shield plans in Europe, which the United States said was aimed to defend its allies from possible missile threats emerging from Iran and North Korea.
Russia viewed the deployment of the missile shield near its borders as a threat to its national security and in 2011 then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced a set of measures to counter the US-proposed missile defense system in Europe. The measures particularly included the construction of new air-defense radar systems and deployment of Iskander missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, which borders on Europe.