Senior Russian and U.S. diplomats on Thursday hinted at movement toward new talks on additional nuclear arsenal cuts, the New York Times reported.
Acting Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Tuesday and Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Busy, but productive few days in Geneva,” Gottemoeller stated in a Twitter update.
“We have planned new contacts at various levels for the coming period,” Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow. “Intensity of these contacts is not declining but in fact increasing, which shows that the work is moving ahead vigorously.”
The sides have yet to begin discussing any deals to follow-up on the New START pact, Ryabkov noted. The bilateral agreement requires each nation by 2018 to field no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and 700 delivery vehicles.
This week's talks came after the Defense Department announced it would not move ahead with the final phase of its plan for a European missile shield. Moscow has objected to the effort as a threat to its strategic nuclear forces, particularly the last-segment project to deploy missile interceptors with a limited capacity to destroy ICBMs. Some experts have said the updated missile defense plan could open the door for new nuclear talks, while Republicans have seen the change as a concession to Moscow.
House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), in a Wednesday letter to President Obama, said the administration is pressing toward new nuclear negotiations in the face of "ongoing and significant concerns about Russian arms control compliance," the Washington Times reported on Thursday. He did not provide details.
Meanwhile, a pair of Russian nuclear bombers on Friday passed close to South Korea within the U.S. Pacific Command's area of operation, the Washington Times reported. This was the fourth such fly-by since last June.