Russia rejected as "ungrounded" an island archipelago's challenge to Moscow's compliance with nuclear disarmament commitments, RIA Novosti reports.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on Monday voiced surprise that his country was targeted in last week's legal action by the Marshall Islands, which played host to dozens of U.S. nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s. In cases filed at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, the island chain demanded faster disarmament steps by all nine known and presumed nuclear-capable nations.
"Russia continues to demonstrate its effective and consistent approach toward the implementation of its commitments under the [Nuclear] Nonproliferation Treaty," Lukashevich said in released comments.
He argued that Moscow has significantly curbed its atomic arsenal under deals reached with other powers.
"Russia has reduced its strategic [long-range] nuclear potential by more than 80 percent and its nonstrategic nuclear weapons by three-quarters from their peak numbers," Reuters quoted the foreign ministry as saying.
"We are convinced that the filing of ungrounded lawsuits does not help the creation of favorable conditions for further international efforts in the sphere of control over armaments and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Lukashevich added in the RIA Novosti article.
The foreign ministry added, though, that "the international community has made no serious efforts" in 45 years to meet the nonproliferation treaty's call for a successor pact allowing for "complete disarmament under strict and effective international control," Reuters reported.
Moscow "is open to interaction with its NPT partners with the aim of seeking the most effective paths to realization of the treaty," according to a ministry statement.