Massive explosion at Russian-occupied port of Berdiansk
In a firm message to the United States, Russia cautioned on Saturday against wielding ultimatums in the wake of arms control agreements crumbling. Moscow emphasised that it would consider rejoining a nuclear arms reduction treaty solely on the condition that Washington abandons its adversarial position.
According to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, if Washington relinquishes its “hostile stance” towards Moscow, Russia will restore complete adherence to the New START treaty.
He said: “Talking to the Russian Federation in the language of ultimatums just does not work. Through the fault of the United States, many elements of the former architecture in this area have either been completely destroyed or moved in a semi-lethal state.”
The warning comes as the US said it would withhold crucial information regarding the location of its missiles and launchers. This measure is a direct response to Moscow’s “ongoing violations”, which have been undermining the integrity of the agreement.
Despite many retaliatory measures, Moscow’s decision to suspend the New START treaty remains unwavering, as stated by Ryabkov, who further added that the development did not catch Russia off guard.
He said: “Regardless of any measures or countermeasures from the US side, our decision to suspend the START Treaty is unshakable.
“And our own condition for returning to a fully operational treaty is for the US to abandon its fundamentally hostile stance toward Russia.”
After its establishment in 2011, the New START Treaty mandated the United States and Russia to curtail the deployment of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers.
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Additionally, the treaty imposed restrictions on the number of nuclear warheads for these deployed missiles and bombers, as well as the launchers themselves.
The treaty’s duration was prolonged until 2026 in 2018.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States and its allies should not support a cease-fire or peace talks to end the war in Ukraine until Kyiv gains strength and can negotiate on its own terms.
As an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive appeared to be taking shape, Blinken said heeding calls from Russia and others, including China, for negotiations now would result in a false “Potemkin peace” that would not secure Ukraine’s sovereignty or enhance European security.
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“We believe the prerequisite for meaningful diplomacy and real peace is a stronger Ukraine, capable of deterring and defending against any future aggression,” Blinken said in a speech in Finland, which recently became NATO’s newest member and shares a long border with Russia.
His use of the term “Potemkin” referred to the brightly painted village fronts that 18th century Russian government minister Grigory Potemkin reportedly used to have built to create an illusion of prosperity for Russia’s empress.
Blinken repeated the US view that “a cease-fire that simply freezes current lines in place” and allows Russian President Vladimir Putin “to consolidate control over the territory he has seized, and rest, rearm, and re-attack — that is not a just and lasting peace.”
Allowing Moscow to keep the one-fifth of Ukrainian territory it’s occupied would send the wrong message to Russia and to “other would-be aggressors around the world,” according to Blinken, implying that a cease-fire shouldn’t be arranged until either Ukraine pushes Russia back or Russia withdraws its troops.
Blinken’s position is similar to that of Ukrainian officials, including his statement that Russia must pay for a share of Ukraine’s reconstruction and be held accountable for the full-scale invasion of its neighbor in February 2022.
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