US, Russian officials hold arms-control talks in Finland

Russian and United States’ negotiators on Monday met in Finland’s capital Helsinki for a new round of arms-control talks as their last remaining bilateral nuclear arms pact is due to expire.

The meeting was led by Marshall Billingslea, the US special presidential envoy for arms control, and Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov. “The sides exchanged views on the current state and further prospects for bilateral cooperation in the area of arms control”, Russia’s foreign ministry said without providing further details.

The New Start treaty is the only remaining agreement constraining the US and Russian nuclear arsenals. It imposes limits on the number of US and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers. Russia has offered to extend the treaty, which expires in February, but US president Donald Trump said he is holding out in hopes of negotiating a three-way agreement with Russia and China.

Moscow has earlier described the goal of a three-way deal as unrealistic as China has been reluctant to discuss any deal that would reduce its nuclear arsenal. China is estimated to have about 300 nuclear weapons. It has various international weapons agreements, but none limiting nuclear weapons.

According to a global watchdog, Russia and the United States jointly possess about 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. The watchdog estimated that the US had 5,800 warheads, while Russia had about 6,375 at the beginning of the year.

News by NewEurope

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