19:34 GMT28 May 2020
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    Moscow Cautiously Reacts to Trump's Idea on Lifting Sanctions in Exchange for Nuke Reduction

    Russian officials commented on the proposal of US President-elect Donald Trump to lift sanctions against Russia in exchange for a bilateral agreement on the reduction of the nuclear arsenal, saying that Moscow is currently not considering the possibility of reducing its nuclear arsenal in exchange for a sanctions deal.

    In interview with newspapers Das Bild and The Times, Trump suggested that the sanctions against Russia could be lifted if both countries sign a nuclear disarmament agreement. However, the proposal caused a cautious reaction in Moscow.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the issue could be discussed only after Trump's inauguration, while representatives of the Russian Federation Council stressed that Moscow doesn't consider the withdrawal of sanctions as something it needs to make sacrifices for, especially in the field of security.

    Chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachev, in his turn, urged not to take Trump's idea as "an official offer." He stressed that the proposal was just a consideration made during an interview.

    He also suggested that the new US president should carefully examine the reasons why the negotiations on disarmament have so far been unsuccessful.

    "If we take away the demagogic explanations (like Russia's 'aggression' and 'revanchism'), it will become clear that one of the main obstacles is the implementation of the US global missile defense plans, as well as constant US attempts to secure unilateral superiority in other areas like the development of NATO infrastructure, conventional weapons, weapons of high precision, drones and the militarization of outer space," Kosachev said.

    Members of the Moscow State Duma, in turn, urged not to link the sanctions with nuclear proliferation. Head of the Committee on Defense Yevgeny Serebrennikov said that the withdrawal of sanctions is a "reciprocal process" and cannot be a subject to a bargain.

    Meanwhile, Viktor Ozerov, the head of the Russian parliamentary security committee, said that Russia is ready to consider the US proposals on joint nuclear disarmament, but other nuclear powers should also join the process.

    "For sure, Russia will consider this proposal. I think any offer from the US President-elect is worth studying. Russia has repeatedly stated that it was ready for a dialogue… Apart from Russia and the United States there are other countries, which have official status of a nuclear powers, so the process should also involve these countries," Ozerov told RIA Novosti.

    However, as member of the Russian parliament's upper house Alexei Pushkov believes, the incoming US administration should not use the issue of lifting anti-Russian sanctions as means of leverage on Moscow.

    Meanwhile, Senator Oleg Morozov said that nuclear arms reduction talks could be held alongside discussions of sanctions. Morozov told RIA Novosti that "it has long been made clear to everyone that sanctions cannot force Russia to comply with any conditions."

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    Tags:
    nuclear agreement, sanctions, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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