Russia accuses US of letting arms controls treaties lapse
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called a Russian attack on the United States "absolutely unimaginable", but accused Washington of dangerously shrugging off the nuclear arms control regime set at the end of the Cold War, in an interview published Tuesday.
Lavrov ridiculed the recent Western commentary that has fretted over Russia renewing Soviet-era military alliances in South America, with planned Venezuelan-Russian military exercises in the Caribbean this year, reported dpa.
"Russia and Venezuela have no plans of attacking anybody, they cooperate on the basis of international law ... (such reports) invent absolutely unimaginable hypothetical scenarios," Lavrov told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper ahead of talks with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro in Moscow on Tuesday.
International security cannot be based on guarantees of friendly intentions, Lavrov said, in a dig at Washington's claims that a missile defence system it plans to deploy in eastern Europe is not aimed against Russia.
"Among the US leadership and that of several other countries absolutely loyal to Washington's line, the prevailing geopolitical ideology is of doing everything possible to contain Russia," Lavrov said.
The foreign minister accused the US of failing to seek a replacement for the START treaty, a key Cold War arms control accord that expires next year.
Last year, Russia pulled out of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) amid differences with the United States, raising fears that the move marked the unravelling of a network of treaties setting checks on each nation's nuclear arsenal with the end of the Cold War.
"I think this would be a most dangerous path," Lavrov said, reiterating his commitment to new rounds of the so-called "2+2" talks between Russia and the US foreign and defense policy chiefs.
A Russian navy battalion is on route to Venezuela to hold military exercises in US-patrolled waters. In September two nuclear-capable Russian bombers flew exercises over the Caribbean in a show of force that looks to exacerbate an already high-strung security standoff with Washington over Russia's war with US ally Georgia last month.