Russia’s Medvedev: No point in nuclear disarmament talks with US until Americans beg for them

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev says there is currently “no need to negotiate” with the United States on nuclear arms reduction, stressing that Moscow should wait until the Americans “crawl” back to talks and “beg” for them.

Medvedev, who is currently the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, emphasized on Monday that there was no point negotiating with Washington on the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

“Now everything is a dead zone. We don’t have any relations with the United States now. They are at zero on the Kelvin scale,” he said on Telegram, referring to discussions about a new strategic nuclear arms reduction treaty.

“There is no need to negotiate with them (on nuclear disarmament) yet. This is bad for Russia,” Medvedev further said, adding, “Let them run or crawl back themselves and ask for it.”

Back in July 1991, the START which later was called the START I, was signed by the then US president George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, barring both countries from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and bombers.

In January 1993, President Bush and Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian president, signed START II, but it collapsed and never entered into effect.

The START I treaty expired in late 2009 and its replacement, called the New START or START III, was signed in April 2010 by former US president Barack Obama and the then Russian president Medvedev, under which both sides agreed to halve the number of strategic nuclear missiles and restrict the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, the lowest level in decades.

However, it does not limit the number of operationally inactive nuclear warheads that remain in the high thousands in both the US and Russian stockpiles.

Moscow slams Lithuania transit ban to Kaliningrad, vows response

Separately on Monday, the Kremlin denounced as “unprecedented” Lithuania’s move to ban the transit of some goods to Russia’s Kaliningrad region, vowing that Moscow would respond by taking undisclosed measures to defend its national interests.

Issuing a statement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded Vilnius reverse what it called as an “openly hostile” move immediately.

“If cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation via Lithuania is not fully restored in the near future, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests,” the ministry said..

“This decision is really unprecedented. It’s a violation of everything,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also said at a press conference, adding, “We consider this illegal. The situation is more than serious … we need a serious in-depth analysis in order to work out our response.”

The banned goods are those that have been sanctioned by the European Union and thus, cannot be transited across Lithuanian territory, which includes the only rail route between mainland Russia and the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea.

Banned goods include coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology.

Kaliningrad is geographically sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, which are both EU and NATO members. The region receives supplies from Russia via rail and gas pipelines through Lithuania.

According to Kaliningrad’s governor, it is estimated that the ban could affect up to half of all goods that are brought to the region by rail.

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