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Russian foreign minister lambasts US over arms control

by Ace Damon
Russian foreign minister lambasts US over arms control

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia's foreign minister said Friday that the world is becoming increasingly unstable because the US does not want to respect gun control regimes.

Speaking at a Moscow disarmament conference, Sergey Lavrov accused the US of seeing arms control treaties as a constraint on his efforts to increase his armed forces.

"In recent years, strategic stability has degraded to an unprecedented point in modern history," he said. “The US has steadily advanced toward the destruction of the international arms control system. It has become an obstacle for Washington, an undesirable constraint that limits US ability to expand its military potential worldwide. "

Earlier this year, Russia and the US withdrew from the 1987 mid-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The US said it had quit because of violations of Russia, a claim the Kremlin denied.

Lavrov reaffirmed Russia's commitment not to send treaty-banned missiles to the US and criticized NATO allies for refusing to make a similar commitment.

He also noted that the US seems reluctant to extend the new START treaty, Russia's last remaining arms control agreement, which expires in 2021.

"Its extension would prevent the total collapse of the weapons control mechanism and give time to study approaches to control new military technologies," Lavrov said. "Washington, however, avoided serious talk and posted negative signals about the prospects of the treaty."

Russia-US ties have fallen to their lowest levels since the Cold War, amid conflict in Ukraine and other tensions.

Lavrov noted that the expansion of US missile defense, Washington's plans to deploy weapons in space, and its efforts to develop low-yield nuclear weapons are among other major threats to strategic stability.

He cited US reluctance to ratify a global ban on nuclear testing as a "big problem."

"This threatens the fate of this crucial document, which is the only verifiable international agreement to end nuclear testing," the minister said.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was adopted in 1996, but never came into force when eight nations, including the United States, did not ratify it.

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