Russia 'explicitly' outlined legal grounds for suspending New START treaty: Senior official

Russia 'explicitly' outlined legal grounds for suspending New START treaty: Senior official

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov says Russia will not change its position on New START while US is pursuing 'hostile course' towards Moscow

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Tuesday that Moscow "explicitly" outlined the legal grounds for suspending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the US.

Washington's statements about the invalidity of the suspension is "an example of the denial of facts and reality," Ryabkov told Russian broadcaster Channel One.

He noted that Moscow may explain in detail its position once again, but it will not change it while the US is pursuing a "hostile course" towards Russia.

"We have suspended the agreement, and...the return to its full implementation is only possible in a situation when the US demonstrates that it is abandoning its hostile course towards Russia.

"There are no signs of this now, rather signs of an opposite approach, further aggravation, further escalation. There can be no question of reversing our position on the issue of suspension," he stressed.

Ryabkov added that Moscow is at the moment not considering changing the treaty's text in any way, but if "the impossible happened" and France and Britain would be willing to join the pact, "it would be a new situation, demanding a new evaluation and making new decisions."

He noted meanwhile that ties between Russia and China are deepening due to NATO's claim to global dominance.

"NATO is trying to change the balance of power in its favor with a claim to global dominance. We won't let them do that. Hence, our deeper cooperation, including in the field of security, with China and hence our decision to suspend the START treaty," he said.

Ryabkov added that it is normal that Russia and the US have different priorities, but if anybody in the West wanted to find a common ground, Russia would look for a balance of interests.

"But we don't see it. We see attempts to impose unilateral approaches on us, China and everyone else," he said.

He noted that Russia and China are building "unique, special relations that have no analogues today in international relations" and this cooperation is more important for Moscow than Western concerns over Beijing's nuclear potential.

Ryabkov said that Russia and the US maintain communication channels, which are being used as necessary, and are staying in touch through their embassies.

"Although from the point of view of the functioning of our embassy in Washington, the Americans are still putting sticks in the wheels, interfering with the normal function of the diplomatic mission. All this is so cheap and does not correspond with the status of a great power that the US still possesses," he said.

Turning to the cooperation of the BRICS countries, which comprise Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Ryabkov said 16 more states would like to join the association.

Asked about the possibility of BRICS expanding, he said he thinks the time is close when BRICS will be represented "in some form" on different continents.

"We just haven't had any experience working with so many applications so far. When the first and only expansion of BRICS took place with the admission of the Republic of South Africa, everyone simply proceeded from the self-evidence of this step.

"Now the list is quite long. In addition, there are states that pay special attention to the involvement of the New BRICS Development Bank and so on," he noted.

He said the BRICS countries may include regional security on their agenda, and it will be "an asset that will be properly acknowledged in the BRICS circle."

"We will see how to expand the topic of regional security in the BRICS format. The recent agreements reached between Saudi Arabia and Iran with the important role of China and our very significant contribution have created a new context for regional work," he added.

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