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Deterioration of US-Russia relations negatively affects international security — diplomat

"Current relations between Russia and the US struggle through the worst times," Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov Alexander Scherbak/TASS/Archive
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
© Alexander Scherbak/TASS/Archive

MONTEREY, October 13. /TASS/. The relations between Russia and the US are currently struggling through their worst times, and this negatively affects international peace and security, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said on Friday.

"Current relations between Russia and the US struggle through the worst times. Historians, politicians, political scientists cannot recall any other time, when our relations were in such a miserable state. Other countries, international peace and security suffer because of this," Antonov said in his speech at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury Institute.

"The worse the Russia-U.S. relations get, the worse becomes the situation with security, with reduction and limitation of nuclear arsenal in the world. I would like to remind you that the positive outcomes of Soviet and Russia-U.S. negotiations always had a positive impact on disarmament in other areas," the diplomat added.

Extension of New START

Moscow hopes that Washington will not delay its response on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) before it expires, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said.

"All the more pressing issue is what will happen to nuclear disarmament after 2021, when the New START is set to expire. Due to a deep crisis in the Russia-U.S. relations it would be naive to assume that our countries are likely to conclude a new treaty on strategic offensive arms by 2021," he explained.

"That is why Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested to thoroughly consider a possibility of extending the New START for another five years. The Americans are silent. We hope that the U.S. will not delay its response and voice its opinion on the Treaty, which was previously regarded by the majority of countries as a 'golden standard' in disarmament," he added.

Adhering to INF Treaty

US accusations against Russia of violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) are goundless, Anatoly Antonov said.

"We are accused of violating the Treaty by allegedly possessing a certain 9M729 missile that violates the INF’s provisions. However, we do not see any clear facts or arguments, which could lead to conclusions of our violations," Antonov added. "Neither the US, nor, even more so, NATO, which, by the way, is not a party to the Treaty, have any tangible data on the missile’s performance characteristics," he noted.

"When and where was it tested? Who confirmed that the missile traveled over 500 kilometers, surpassing the distance allowed by the INF Treaty? We await clear evidence and continue to deny any groundless accusations," the ambassador stressed.

Russia, on the other hand, has very specific concerns, he continued. "The US has deployed 'Aegis Ashore' missile defense systems in its base in Romania and plans to do the same in Poland," the diplomat said. "Moreover, these systems are being deployed in direct proximity to our borders. If we were to deploy such missiles near the U.S. territory, wouldn’t it be taken in America as a direct threat to its national security?" Antonov wondered.

Denuclrearization of Korean Peninsula

Russia supports US efforts on denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, but it is important at this stage to adhere to the Russian-Chinese roadmap on North Korea, Antonov continued.

"There are a lot of questions on how quickly we can reach denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We support the American efforts in this area. We stand ready to back the US However, it is concerning that neither a single warhead, nor even a missile has been dismantled to this day. We have noticed that the DPRK has made several direct steps to meet American demands," the diplomat noted.

"We think it is high time to think about the whole set of restraints imposed on North Korea. It is important to take steps in accordance with the Russian-Chinese "roadmap" to mitigate the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Actions from one side mean that the other side should take steps as well," he added.

Non-proliferation regime

US unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nucler deal poses a threat to the non-proliferation regime, Antonov said.

"We, as many other states, are troubled by the situation in nuclear non-proliferation. This will be one of the key issues during the upcoming NPT Revcon [2020 NPT Review Confernce]," the ambassador reminded.

"I doubt that non-nuclear states will be ready to assume additional obligations in this regard without a clear signal from nuclear states to continue the process of nuclear disarmament," he added.

"The situation with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action raises a special concern. In this regard we call upon all countries to clearly and explicitly adhere to their obligations within the nuclear deal. We think that the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the agreement poses a threat to the non-proliferation regime," the ambassador noted.

Putin-Trump Helsinki summit

The summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Helsinki in July created a positive momentum for international stability, Antonov said.

"I would like to note a positive momentum for international stability gained during the Russia-U.S. Summit in Helsinki. It was a good talk. The intent of both presidents to bolster international security is evident. It is regretful, though, that it has not been put into tangible actions. We are ready for a constructive dialogue. We hope that the U.S. Administration will soon finalize interagency coordination of its approaches that will not leave the international community disappointed," the diplomat noted.

"I would like to stress, that if we want to strengthen strategic stability, we will require an equal dialogue with mutual consideration of each other’s interests. It is necessary to revive the channels of bilateral communication on strategic stability and create conditions that will allow us to advance strengthening non-proliferation of the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and means of their delivery, to preserve and adapt, where necessary, mechanisms of arms control. It all will have a positive impact on international stability, peace and security, on the principles of equal and indivisible security for everyone," the ambassador concluded.