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Extension of New START is no concession on the part of Russia or US — senior diplomat

According to the deputy foreign minister, the step will help preserve the necessary level of mutual predictability and transparency in the sphere of strategic offensive arms between Moscow and Washington in the foreseeable future

MOSCOW, February 11. /TASS/. The extension of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, also known as the New START Treaty, is not a concession made by either Moscow or Washington, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday.

"It should be emphasized that there was no question and there is no question of any concessions by any of the parties. We are certain that the joint decision on extending the treaty made by our countries is equally in keeping with their national interests," he said.

According to Ryabkov, "the necessary level of mutual predictability and transparency in the sphere of strategic offensive arms" will be preserved in relations between Russia and the United States in the foreseeable future thanks to that step. "This in itself is of paramount importance for strengthening international security and strategic stability," he stressed.

Responsible approach on the part of Washington

Moscow notes that Washington has a responsible approach to implementation of agreements under New START apart from the issue of warhead counting rules, the deputy foreign minister said.

"As for New START, we observe a rather responsible approach of Washington to its implementation apart from the well-known problem with counting certain modified carriers, which we have been raising and will continue to raise because the treaty has been extended," he said.

Ryabkov added that there are examples of the US fulfilling in good faith its part of obligations under several agreements. He noted that this approach of the US partners can only be welcomed. "We need to expand the set of agreements where the US acts in a right and responsible manner. We will encourage that, considering our completely indisputable and inarguable experience of strict adherence to all obligations assumed by Russia," the diplomat concluded.

Concept of limited nuclear war

Russia strongly dismisses Washington’s destabilizing concept of a limited nuclear war, Sergei Rybkov told the news briefing.

He said that Washington continued to discuss and voice destabilizing concepts that permit the use of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict. "We strongly dismiss the concept of a limited nuclear war. We categorically disagree with the attempts to attribute to us some ‘escalate-to-deescalate’ ideas," Ryabkov said.

"We believe that those who indulge in this are moving towards the introduction of such ideas to their own military planning," Ryabkov said.

He stressed this was precisely the reason why it was so important to confirm on the bilateral basis with the United States and in a wider group - the "nuclear quintet" - the Gorbachev-Reagan formula that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it must never be unleashed.

"This precise and clear formula must be now confirmed collectively. The world needs such a message. And the lack of readiness by our Western counterparts to accept this proposal of ours only fuels doubts as to where their military thought is heading and whether they are planning a limited nuclear conflict," Ryabkov said.

On February 3, Russia and the US exchanged notes on the completion of the necessary internal procedures for the entry into force of the agreement on extending the New START Treaty. The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that the accord’s extension ensured the preservation of the core mechanism for maintaining strategic stability, which restricts the parties’ nuclear missile arsenals on a parity basis.