Moscow has warned Washington that it will not win the arms race

Sergei Ryabkov
Sergey Ryabkov / EPA-EFE / THOMAS PETER / POOL

If the United States expects to win the next arms race, then Washington is wrong, a senior Russian diplomat said in remarks released Wednesday, adding that a military conflict between Moscow and NATO cannot be ruled out. Reuters.

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister in charge of relations with the US, non-proliferation and arms control, told the Izvestia newspaper that the current circumstances were not "suitable" for arms talks with Washington.

"If the United States expects to win the next arms race, repeating to some extent the experience of Ronald Reagan's presidency ... then the Americans are wrong," Izvestia quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Russia's ties with many Western countries have soured since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with Moscow now saying it is fighting what it calls the "collective West" in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the West he was "not bluffing" when he said he would use nuclear weapons if Russia's territorial integrity was threatened, and held up the possibility that Russia would continue nuclear testing.

Ryabkov reiterated Russia's position that Moscow is not threatening a military conflict with NATO, but said a possible escalation depends on the alliance's action.

"Time is completely on NATO's side," he said.

Moscow's relations with Washington were so bad that a "break" was possible, but Russia "will never initiate such a step," he added.

"The situation is not conducive to exchanging signals (on arms control), even on such key issues," Ryabkov said.

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