Russia postpones nuclear arms talks with US

Russia has postponed a resumption of nuclear arms control talks with the U.S. government without explanation, the Biden administration said on Monday.

The State Department said Moscow “unilaterally postponed” talks with the U.S. on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), an arms control pact that limits both nations’ stockpiles of nuclear weapons, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Talks were scheduled for Tuesday in Egypt and would have extended until next week.

The State Department said Russia promised to provide new dates for a meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC), which agrees on details for the New START.

“The United States is ready to reschedule at the earliest possible date as resuming inspections is a priority for sustaining the treaty as an instrument of stability,” the department said in a statement.

The New START was finalized in 2011 during the Obama administration and serves as the last key pact to limit nuclear arms between Washington and Moscow.

Last year, the U.S. and Russia agreed to extend the treaty to 2026, about a month before it was set to expire.

The BCC held its last meeting in Geneva in October 2021, a time lapse attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August, Russia suspended U.S. inspections of nuclear arms in a protest of Washington’s continued funding of Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces.

The talks that were set for this week were not expected to discuss Ukraine, State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier this month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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