U.S., Russia hold nuclear talks in Geneva after summit push
– Senior US and Russian officials began talks on strategic nuclear stability on Wednesday, with a new mandate from their presidents, who met in Geneva last month for a summit.
At the meeting at the US diplomatic mission in Geneva, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov led their respective delegations.
Presidents Joe Biden of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia, who together control 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, have agreed to start a bilateral dialogue on strategic stability to “lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.”
The one-day talks’ exact scope was not disclosed, but analysts expected it to be the start of a process.
“The talks must result in genuine and significant nuclear reductions.” “Anything less would be an irresponsible failure,” Nobel Laureate Daniel Hogsta of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons told Reuters.
“It will be almost a year since the last meeting in this format,” said Andrey Baklitskiy, senior research fellow at Moscow State Institute of International Relations’ Center for Advanced American Studies. We’re starting with a new US administration, and we’re starting from the ground up.
He told reporters in Geneva, “It’s just meet and greet and try to establish some basic understandings.”
The New START nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States was extended for another five years in January, just days before it was set to expire. The treaty places restrictions on the number of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles, and bombers that Russia and the US can deploy.
According to Baklitskiy, the two sides are expected to discuss which weapons systems and technologies are the most concerning.
“For example, Russia has long had reservations about the United States’ modification of heavy bombers and launchers to launch ballistic missiles,” he said.
The Biden administration has claimed that Russia has conducted low-yield nuclear tests unilaterally, in violation of a nuclear testing moratorium, he said, adding that “that’s still on the table.”
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