Mon, 20 Sep 2021

U.S. and Russian diplomats have started talks on strategic nuclear stability in the Swiss city of Geneva as the two sides look to agree on reductions to their nuclear arsenals.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is leading the U.S. delegation, while Russia's team is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov for the one-day talks on July 28.

The so-called Strategic Stability Dialogue was set up during a summit last month between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin to 'lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.'

The exact agenda of the talks was not made public but media reports said the major focus will be on strategic stability issues such as how to move beyond the New START treaty that Biden and Putin have agreed to extend until 2026.

New START first went into effect in 2011. The treaty limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550, deployed strategic delivery systems at 700, and provides for a verification regime.

Already strained relations between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated further since Biden took office in January, with the United States sanctioning Russia over cyberattacks, election meddling, and the poisoning and jailing of opposition politician and Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny.

But Biden has also said that the United States wants a 'stable, predictable' relationship that allows the two countries to work together on common issues like strategic stability, arms control, and climate change.

Based on reporting by RIA-Novosti, TASS, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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