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Russia ready to discuss nuclear arsenal reduction: Foreign Minister

Sputnik | Updated: 2017-03-27 16:58

MOSCOW - Russia is ready to discuss the possibility of reducing nuclear arsenals, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a Russian Armed Forces General Staff Military Academy lecture Thursday.

"We are ready to discuss the possibility of further reducing nuclear capabilities, but only taking into account all the factors and not just the number of strategic offensive weapons," Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, he added that Russia is ready for dialogue with the United States on the reduction of strategic nuclear weapons and believes that more countries need to be involved in the process.

"We are ready, but the conversation must be conducted taking into account all factors that affect strategic stability," Lavrov said at a Russian Armed Forces General Staff Military Academy lecture.

He underscored the need to wait for Washington to finalize its priorities in the area, and stressed the need for more countries' involvement in the reduction of nuclear arms.

Both Russia and the United States agreed in 2010, under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) treaty, to decrease the number of deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550 and the number of deployed missiles and bombers to 700. The agreement will expire in 2021, and could be prolonged for no more than five years.

US President Donald Trump has been critical of the deal that he regards as "bad" and "one-sided," raising concerns.

On February 24, Alexey Pushkov, a senior member of the Russian parliament's upper house, said Trump's pledge to boost US nuclear capacities could send the world back into the 20th century by challenging all treaties on strategic arms reduction. On February 28, Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Alexander Fomin said Moscow and Washington should work together under the existing treaty.

On March 8, head of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Gen. John Hyten said a potential cancellation of the New START could lead to an arms race.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that the European Union favored deeper cooperation between the United States and Russia on nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

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