Putin should not negotiate on disarming nuclear weapons yet, says former Russian president

Russia ‘doesn’t have any relations with the United States now,’ Vladimir Putin’s predecessor says

Lamiat Sabin
Monday 20 June 2022 15:39 BST
Ukrainian forces destroy Russian tank and two infantry vehicles with British howitzers

Moscow should not engage in negotiations with Washington on nuclear disarmament until the United States has “crawled” back to have talks, a former Russian president has said.

Dmitry Medvedev, who is now the deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, suggested that US-Russia relations are so frosty they have been plunged into extreme sub-zero temperatures.

Since 1981, starting under the US presidency of Ronald Regan, Russia and the US have negotiated a series of nuclear arms reduction treaties.

But there has been a dramatic decline in relations between the two world superpowers since Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine since 24 February - the most serious disruption between the two since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Vladimir Putin [L] shakes the hand of his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev
Vladimir Putin [L] shakes the hand of his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev (Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

“We don’t have any relations with the United States now,” Medvedev wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

"They are at zero on the Kelvin [temperature] scale [about -273C]... There is no need to negotiate with them yet. This is bad for Russia. Let them run or crawl back themselves and ask for it."

Russia and the United States control the vast majority – about 90 per cent – of all the nuclear warheads in the world, with about 4,000 of them each, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

Medvedev, who when he was president sought to present himself as a reformer who wanted better relations with the west, suggested that Moscow should get tougher with the US.

He referred to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s shoe-banging at the United Nations General Assembly in 1960, which he did in response to criticism over the USSR “swallowing up” parts of eastern Europe.

Khrushchev waved a shoe at the General Assembly and, according to the New York Times report at that time, banged it on his desk.

Medvedev said: “There is another proven method of communicating with America on this topic – with a shoe on the UN rostrum. It used to work.”

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