The AP news agency reported on Friday, citing a source, that the two countries had agreed in principle to continue freezing their nuclear stockpiles. If it holds, an agreement could be reportedly announced before the November presidential election and may potentially lead to the New START extension. According to the source, the US has informed Russia that if the talks drag out beyond the election, it will demand more concessions from Moscow.
Commenting on the media reports, Ryabkov said that Russia is not ruling that the sides could first secure a "framework agreement that would allow us to talk about defining the main directions and parameters of further work."
"But we are simply not ruling it out. We have not got closer, and, I stress this, we have not got closer to reaching such an agreement with the US. As for the attempts of the Americans to present the case as if we were on the threshold of such an agreement and it won't be long until it is achieved, it is not clear what they are based on," Ryabkov said.
He added that his October 5 talks with US Special Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea in Helsinki "demonstrated that huge differences remain, including with regard to central elements of such an agreement" and a freeze on nuclear arsenals.