MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. The next session of the bilateral consultative commission on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) should be held soon, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Wednesday.
"We saw some claims in the media alleging Russia was this close to abandoning the New START Treaty. Let’s unequivocally reject all of this and say that Russia leaving the New START Treaty was and is absolutely out of the question. <...> Again, we are not halting professional dialogue with the American side both by exchanging paperwork, documents and by using other existing channels. In particular, the next session of the bilateral consultative commission on the New START Treaty should take place soon," she said.
According to the diplomat, it is not quite appropriate to talk about some negotiation process here. "Again, this is not so much a negotiation process but rather a hands on approach to the entire set of issues emerging in the context of implementing the treaty," she added.
Zakharova pointed out that US-Russian interaction on its implementation is conducted, above all, by exchanging appropriate notifications on the changes and potential of each side’s strategic offensive arms. "The Russian side has specific legitimate objections to how the US approaches the implementation of its obligations under the treaty. In particular, we intend to yet again raise the issue of the long-standing problem of the Americans taking dozens of heavy bombers and submarine launchers out of their total under the New START Treaty which, as the US side insists, have been refurbished and are no longer capable of using nuclear arms," the diplomat noted. "Russian specialists should be given the opportunity to fully verify this. The lack of clarity on this issue is unacceptable for us," she added.
The spokeswoman stressed that Russia continues to rigorously adhere to the provisions of the New START Treaty. "Currently, there is only a temporary withdrawal by Russia of its strategic offensive arms from inspections under the treaty until the remaining technical obstacles are removed which emerged as a result of the US introducing anti-Russian restrictions which hinders conducting inspections on an equal footing," she pointed out.
Zakharova noted that the current sticking points have been repeatedly explained by the Russian side. "Additionally, it is also necessary to take into account that some COVID-19-related aspects of holding inspections demand comprehensive coordination. Not everything in this sphere has returned to normal yet," she added.