Russia Says It Might Continue Talks With US on New START Treaty

The US has received a formal note on Russia's suspension of its participation in New START

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Wednesday left the door open on continued contacts with the US on New START even though Russia has officially suspended its participation in the treaty.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Tuesday officially suspending Russia’s participation in New START, which limits the deployment of nuclear warheads and launchers and is the last nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia.

The US State Department said Wednesday that it received a diplomatic note from Russia about the suspension. Ryabkov said the US and Russia had been talking about the issue through back channels and that such discussions might continue.

“I can confirm that in recent days we have had discussions on the New START issue through closed channels, this is an indisputable fact. They [the discussions] may continue,” he said, according to the Russian news agency TASS. So far, there’s no sign that Russia is planning to change its nuclear posture following the suspension.

Ryabkov reiterated Russia’s position that the suspension will be changed once the US takes steps to de-escalate tensions over its support for Ukraine and said he hasn’t seen any sign that will happen.

“We see no indication that there has been any change in the United States’ position, which is rather destructive and leaves no chance of carrying on work as before,” Ryabov said. Putin has also said that he wants Britain and France’s nuclear arsenals to be taken into account for New START to resume since they are part of NATO.

Russia’s suspension of New START was the culmination of crumbling arms control treaties between the two powers that started with the George W. Bush administration withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The Trump administration later pulled out of the  Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and Open Skies, which allowed unarmed surveillance flights over participating countries’ territory.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.