Communication is minimal, but it exists. The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zajárova, confirmed on Tuesday that Washington and the Kremlin are keeping some channels of dialogue open, despite the fact that tension is at its maximum at a time of threats of military escalation and attacks with radioactive bombs . “We maintain, let’s put it that way, specific contacts with the United States on those issues that require their participation. We are open to any type of dialogue that is beneficial for both, that represents mutual interest”, the diplomat admitted in an interview with one of the heads of state propaganda, television presenter Vladimir Soloviov.
“This has nothing to do with the concept of full-fledged relationships,” Zajárova stressed. The American newspaper The Washington Post revealed last Monday that Joe Biden’s Chief National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, has spoken in recent months with the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrúshev, and an aide to Vladimir Putin. for the foreign policy of the Kremlin, Yuri Ushakov. According to the sources quoted by the newspaper, the objective has not been to negotiate peace in Ukraine, but rather to avoid a major military escalation between the two countries.
One of the fruits of these contacts could be the holding of a bilateral meeting soon to address the current situation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the New Start. Both parties have not met for a year to clarify their doubts through the only pact they maintain for the control of their arsenals. After publicly showing their willingness to dialogue in recent months, the Kremlin and the White House have taken the step to do so and are looking for a date and place.
The Russian media outlet Kommersant revealed on Tuesday that the New Start advisory commission is considering meeting at the end of this month or at the beginning of December in a country in the Middle East . It would be the first meeting since Vladimir Putin ordered his all-out offensive on Ukraine to be launched on February 24, and it would be the first time it has not taken place in Geneva. The Kremlin wants to take the dialogue to a neutral zone, and Switzerland has been one of the countries that joined the wave of sanctions against Russia for unleashing the war.
The resumption of these talks would be a very important gesture when the Kremlin has intensified the rhetoric about a nuclear confrontation. By announcing the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of citizens on September 21Vladimir Putin hinted that he might use such weapons. “In the face of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country, we will use all means at our disposal [including nuclear] to protect Russia and our people; this is not a bluff,” he said as Moscow prepared to annex the occupied territory of Ukraine. Likewise, at the beginning of the war, it ordered its nuclear deterrence forces to be activated “in special combat mode”, and a few weeks ago, they carried out “a massive attack” after notifying Washington with very little time of the military exercise.
The New Start treaty, signed in 2010 by the then US presidents, Barack Obama, and Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, sets a maximum number of launchers and nuclear warheads for both powers, and establishes the conditions for mutual inspections. In 2021 it was extended for another five years as a last guarantee against an escalation, since other agreements such as the treaty for the elimination of medium and short-range missiles (INF) or the Open Skies for aerial reconnaissance were abandoned by both parties. years before.
One of Russia’s concerns is the deployment of Trident II intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Russian Foreign Ministry published a statement in mid-October denouncing its inability to confirm whether Washington included some B-52 submarine launchers and strategic aircraft in its nuclear arsenal, and also criticizing the “arbitrary reclassification” of some missile silos.
Washington, for its part, wants to send its inspectors to Russia. The US Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Bonnie Jenkins, stated at a special press conference on August 25 that, despite the lack of dialogue, her country wanted to send a mission to Russia. “We are trying to see how to make it possible. We know there is some pushback from Russia, but we are in the process of trying to figure out how we can take it forward,” she stated. The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Riabkov, considered this wish “a whim” and “an absolute provocation” with the confrontation in Ukraine in the background.