Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Monday that there are still no dates set for talks between the US and Russia on the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two powers, known as New START.
The US and Russia were set to meet on the treaty in November, but Russia postponed the talks, citing US military support for Ukraine. The two sides were engaged in more broad nuclear arms control talks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but they were canceled by the US.
Ryabkov said the conditions are not right for New START talks due to recent escalations by the US. “The present situation is discouraging for setting a new date, especially considering this escalation trend both in the US actions and rhetoric,” he said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
New START limits the deployment of missiles, warheads, and bombers and includes an inspection regime. The inspections have been suspended since March 2020 due to Covid-19, and any future negotiations on the treaty are expected to focus on resuming them.
One of President Biden’s first foreign policy moves in January 2021 was a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend New START, and now the treaty is set to expire in 2026. Since Biden and Putin agreed on the extension, the US and Russia have made no progress on arms control, and there’s no sign they will be negotiating a replacement for New START anytime soon.
The failure to hold New START talks reflects the overall lack of diplomacy between the US and Russia since the war started. While there have been some high-level talks, the US State Department has essentially abandoned diplomacy with Moscow. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has only held one known call with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and they focused on a prisoner swap, not the war in Ukraine.