Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov pointed to the erosion of arms control dialogue between Russia and the US Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. © Sputnik/Mikhail Voskresensky

Global arms control is mired in an unprecedented crisis, triggered primarily by the actions of the West, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov claimed on Tuesday.

Speaking at the PIR Center, a Russian think tank specializing in nuclear non-proliferation, Ryabkov argued that the issue had been building for some time, and had been exacerbated by US and Western attempts to “actively use coercion and violence in unsuccessful attempts to strengthen their global positions.”

Those actions could be exemplified by the bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia, the US invasion of Iraq, and NATO’s “destabilizing” eastward expansion, the diplomat said.

At the same time, Washington and NATO “categorically refused” Russia’s proposals to create a comprehensive security framework in Europe, Ryabkov insisted. Instead, they embraced a course seeking to “deliberately and maliciously” fan the Ukraine conflict and inflict a “strategic defeat” on Moscow – all of which affected areas of contact with the West, including regarding arms control, he added.

According to the diplomat, the problem could potentially be remedied by dialogue between the US and Russia, which hold the largest nuclear arsenals on the planet.

However, that’s all in theory. In practice… Washington is clearly not ready to revise its destructive course seeking to undermine our security. And how long such a ‘frosty winter’ in this field will last is anyone’s guess. This is not fatal in itself, as long as it doesn’t spiral into a nuclear winter! 

Ryabkov said that Moscow had noted Washington’s proposal to discuss arms control separately from other issues in bilateral relations. However, by endorsing this “compartmentalization,” the US wants to push the red lines even further in a bid to undermine Russia’s national security, the diplomat claimed.

Against this backdrop, arms control talks are unlikely to be productive unless the US and the West “dramatically change their aggressive anti-Russia policies,” Rybakov argued.

In early June, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Washington was ready to engage in arms control discussions with Russia and China “without preconditions.” Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov welcomed the suggestion, but noted that Moscow should understand the specifics of the proposals, which he said came at a time of an “acute deficit of mutual trust.” (RT)