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Moscow interested in talks on nuclear weapons with US without tying them to sanctions

Alexei Pushkov, member of Russia’s Federation Council Defense and Security Committee, believes that sanctions should be lifted as a result of normalizing the Russian-US relations

MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. Russia is interested in discussing reduction of nuclear weapons with the US, but this is a separate issue that should not be linked to the removal of sanctions, Alexei Pushkov, member of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Defense and Security Committee, told TASS on Monday.

"By itself, the conversation about the possibility of reducing nuclear arsenals is the conversation Russia agreed to on condition of complying with the parties’ equal security principle," the senator said commenting on an interview by US President-elect Donald Trump on a possibility of a deal with Russia and the need to reduce nuclear weapons. He recalled that the negotiations on the issue were held under the previous US administrations, including during Barack Obama’s presidency. Pushkov noted though that it would be wrong to tie the nuclear issues to lifting anti-Russian sanctions. "I do not think that the US should link the removal of sanctions to some agreements with Russia. The sanctions are a separate issue," he stressed.

"Sanctions should be lifted as a result of normalizing the Russian-US relations and putting them on a constructive track, because the sanctions are part of the policy of confrontation," the senator said. As for the potential agreements on other issues, "Russia will discuss and consider (them) judging from their inherent value and conformity with national interests and the interests of peace and security," he added.

According to Pushkov, the removal of sanctions "should be the result of Trump’s parting with the Obama administration’s confrontational legacy." "Washington cannot see it as a tool to exert pressure on Moscow to get certain concessions from it," he said. "If this approach is adopted in Washington, I believe there are good prospects (for nuclear arms reduction talks)," the parliamentarian said.