Russia on Thursday said it is prepared to consider further cuts to its nuclear arsenal alongside the United States, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Recent reports have indicated the Obama administration hopes to seal a new, possibly informal agreement with Russia for nuclear reductions that would go beyond those mandated by the bilateral New START accord. That treaty, enacted two years ago, requires both nations by 2018 to deploy no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and 700 delivery systems.
President Obama pledged during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to "engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals." Washington hopes that new cuts would address short-range as well as reserve weapons.
"After the treaty implementation we would be ready for possible further steps toward nuclear disarmament," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
“We have not received specific proposals from the U.S. on further strategic nuclear-weapons cuts, however we will be ready to discuss them upon receipt,” Voice of Russia quoted the spokesman as saying.
The U.S.-NATO plan for ballistic missile defense in Europe would be among the strategic issues studied as Moscow considers whether to accept any proposal, according to Lukashevich.
Russian State Duma international affairs panel head Alexei Pushkov said U.S. national security adviser Tom Donilon could carry proposals on nuclear arms cuts when he visits Moscow this month, Interfax reported. Donilon "is expected to bring a so-called secret letter" addressing nuclear disarmament, the lawmaker said.