Russia’s Lavrov rejects US proposal to resume nuclear arms talks

The foreign minister also warned that Ukraine must end its push to join NATO before any peace discussions can proceed.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a press conference after addressing the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City
Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

Russia’s top diplomat has rejected a United States proposal to resume a dialogue on nuclear arms control, saying that it is impossible while Washington offers military support to Ukraine.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Sergey Lavrov accused the West of fuelling global security risks by encouraging Ukraine to ramp up strikes on Russian territory and warned that Moscow will achieve its goals in the conflict regardless of Western support for Kyiv.

Commenting on a US proposal to resume contacts in the sphere of nuclear arms control, Lavrov said that Moscow has rejected the offer. He said that for such talks to be held, Washington first needs to revise its current policy towards Russia.

Lavrov charged that Washington’s push for the revival of nuclear talks has been driven by a desire to resume inspections of Russia’s nuclear weapons sites. He described such US demands as “indecent” in view of Ukraine’s attacks on Russian nuclear-capable bomber bases during the conflict.

“Amid a ‘hybrid war’ waged by Washington against Russia, we aren’t seeing any basis, not only for any additional joint measures in the sphere of arms control and reduction of strategic risks, but for any discussion of strategic stability issues with the US,” he said. “We firmly link such possibility to the West fully renouncing its malicious course aimed at undermining Russia’s security and interests.”

The minister said Washington’s push for restarting nuclear arms talks is rooted in a desire to “try to establish control over our nuclear arsenal and minimise nuclear risks for itself” but added that “those risks are emerging as a result of forceful pressure on our country.”

He accused the West of blocking any talks on ending the conflict and inciting the ramping up of attacks on Russia.

“Such encouragement and the transfer of relevant weapons shows that the West doesn’t want any constructive solution,” Lavrov said. “The West is pushing toward the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, and that raises new strategic risks.”

He reaffirmed that Russia will pursue what it calls the “special military operation” regardless of Western pressure.

“We will consistently and persistently press the goals of the special military operation and we will achieve them,” he said. “They should have no hope that Russia could be defeated in any way. Those in the West who fantasise about it have failed to learn history lessons.”

The foreign minister’s comments come as tensions in the nearly two-year conflict show no signs of abating, with Ukraine claiming the same day it struck an oil terminal in Saint Petersburg.

A Russian-appointed official in occupied southeastern Ukraine earlier disputed this, saying that Ukraine had tried and failed to target a Russian Baltic Sea oil terminal with a drone overnight.

Ukraine’s offensive lies on the heels of its continuous push to join NATO, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy most again calling for membership at Davos, the World Economic Forum’s annual summit.

NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg said at the summit that Kyiv is “closer to NATO than ever before”.

During his press conference, Lavrov said that Ukraine must end its push to join NATO before any discussion of peace takes place.

Source: News Agencies