Russia and the United States are discussing the resumption of negotiations on reducing nuclear weapons in the coming weeks, the first face-to-face contact since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, according to the Kommersant business daily. reported Tuesday, citing three unnamed sources.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) talks could take place in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, instead of their traditional Geneva venue, in late November or early December, Kommersant reported.
The report follows weeks of concern over a possible nuclear escalation in Ukraine fueled by thinly veiled threats from President Vladimir Putin. Moscow then muted its rhetoric following reported discussions with US officials.
The latest arms reduction pact between Cold War foes, New START is one of the few areas where Moscow and Washington have declared themselves open to talks despite tensions over the invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions.
According to Kommersant, Washington should increase the resumption of on-site inspections under New START.
Moscow officially suspended physical inspections by the United States in August 2022 after President Joe Biden called on Russia and China to demonstrate their commitment to limiting nuclear weapons.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said at the time that Western sanctions, visa restrictions and airspace closures related to the war in Ukraine made it difficult for Moscow to carry out inspections on American soil.
According to Kommersant, Russia and the United States have continued to hold New START talks remotely instead of in-person talks.
In one such remote chat last month, Kommersant reported that Moscow had accused Washington of circumventing the terms of the treaty by withholding weapons and sites that Russia suspects are still nuclear-capable despite their conversions. and announced reclassifications.
Moscow and Washington last year extended New START, which caps the number of deployable nuclear warheads at 1,550, until February 5, 2026.