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Moscow comments on Obama’s criticism over Russia’s role in nuclear disarmament

The Russian Foreign Ministry has blamed the US for freezing cooperation channels and noted Moscow’s responsible attitude towards the disarmament process

MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Russia is very serious about its commitments as a country that possesses nuclear weapons, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

"Russia is one of the most responsible participants of the disarmament process. Of course, it is very responsible about its commitments as a country that possesses nuclear weapons," Zakharova said commenting on US President Barack Obama’s critical statements about Moscow’s insufficient participation in the process of nuclear disarmament. "That’s why such assessments are inappropriate. We always expect concrete facts from US, not just statements," she added.

"If US has any concerns, they can always tell us though existing channels of cooperation. The fact that they froze cooperation channels, including on special topics, is not our problem, it’s the problem of US," Zakharova concluded.

Earlier in May Zakharova said that the possibilities for Russian-US bilateral nuclear disarmament have been exhausted, and other countries should be involved in the process. "We believe that the implementation of the START Treaty will exhaust our capabilities regarding mutual arms cuts with the United States," she said. "It is necessary to look for ways to involve in the nuclear disarmament process all other states possessing military nuclear potential, first of all Washington’s allies in NATO," she added.

"Also, the promotion of the disarmament agenda is hindered by a number of negative factors of military-strategic nature," Zakharova said. "These include, first of all, intensive military preparations of the Pentagon in close proximity to Russian borders, including the ongoing deployment of the US missile defense system in Eastern Europe," she went on.

The diplomat said that in the updated strategy of US European Command Russia is referred to as "a global challenge, one that requires a global response," and "containment of Russian aggression" is the first priority. In addition, the current US administration has launched the most ambitious modernization of the US nuclear arsenal since the end of the Cold War. According to available estimates, spending on these purposes in the coming 10 years will reach some $350 billion, and in 30 years they will exceed a trillion dollars.

"All this indicates that Washington has started serious military planning and building against Russia," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. "This strategy is fixed in the guideline papers and supported by an impressive funding."

"We cannot disregard our own security and, of course, must take into account all these aspects," she said. "We believe that the discussion of the further reduction of nuclear arsenals should be carried out with taking into account all the factors affecting strategic stability, such as the creation of the American global missile defense system, the development of the US non-nuclear strategic offensive arms within the framework of the Prompt Global Strike concept, the threat of the deployment of weapons in outer space, the growing quantitative and qualitative imbalance in the field of conventional weapons," Zakharova concluded.