Russia on Tuesday rejected assertions by the Trump administration that the US and Russia had come to a “gentlemen’s agreement” on extending a key arms control agreement and dismissed the idea that a deal would be reached before the US presidential election.
US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea on Tuesday said he believed “that there is an agreement in principle at the highest levels of our two governments” for the US to extend the New START Treaty “for some period of time” in exchange for Russia freezing its nuclear arsenal.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov quickly rebuffed the comments, saying the position on freezing the arsenal was “unacceptable,” according to state run news agency RIA Novosti.
“The US position in favor of putting a freeze [on the nuclear arsenal] has long been known to us, it is unacceptable to us. Not because we are against freezing, but because we need to deal with the problems of strategic stability as a complex,” Rybakov said, according to RIA Novosti.
Moreover, Ryabkov said that the US would not get an agreement on strategic arms control from Moscow in the run-up to the election.
“If the Americans need to report to their superiors something about allegedly reaching an agreement with the Russian Federation before their elections, then they will not get it,” he said.
Billingslea and Ryabkov met in Helsinki in early October following a meeting between US national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Nikolai Patrushev, the top national security adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Billingslea said in his remarks at the Heritage Foundation Tuesday that he believed that an agreement in principle had been reached and “that’s why (he) cut short my trip to Asia and made a beeline for Helsinki when the Russians called and wanted to sit down.”
“I’m hopeful that that sort of gentlemen’s agreement,