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No Strategic Nuclear Talks as Long as the West Retains Its Russophobia, Insists Ryabkov

Speaking to Izvestia on the sidelines of the June 25-26 Primakov Readings, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that it was impossible to hold talks on strategic weapons as long as the West was conducting war against Russia and was motivated by extreme Russophobia. “I do not see any preconditions for us to return to a real discussion with the United States on the prospects for control over strategic nuclear weapons,” Ryabkov said. “In order for this to happen, we need to register real positive shifts in the current U.S. policy on Russia, which is saturated with Russophobia and has become anti-Russian from A to Z. When we see something real in terms of change for the better, and I think that moment will come sooner or later, then we can return to the idea of how to apply the mechanics of arms control to the task of strengthening security. That is a very, very long way off. Let’s be realistic.”

He referred in particular to U.S. involvement in the attacks on Sevastopol. “It turns out that they are waging an indirect war against us, and in some cases they are directly involved in the conflict, as was the case with the horrific strike on Sevastopol, when without the input of data from American intelligence assets no such strike would have been possible,” he said. “And the very introduction of such flight assignments in the ATACMS system is not carried out without the direct involvement of American specialists—we know this for a fact. This is a blatant case of direct involvement in the conflict. And how can we, knowing that this is happening in our home, sit at the same table with them and agree on further reductions or even just restrictions in the area of strategic offensive weapons? They must realize the impossibility of this by virtue of elementary human logic.”

Izvestia’s correspondent Semyon Boykov also asked Rybkov about the possible changes in Russian nuclear doctrine. He referred to the ongoing discussion about this matter at the Primakov Readings. “They require adaptation to the dramatically changed security situation,” he said. “Relevant work is being done (and the President has said this many times). I do not prejudge its results, but I call on our opponents to think about what the President is saying. They are playing with fire in the truest sense of the word, and they must eventually develop the ability not to indulge in extremely dangerous illusions, but try to take a sober look at the world and realize that we have inviolable national interests that we are ready to defend to the end.”