Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Russia and the United States have agreed to set up two working groups on strategic stability issues, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday.
The delivery of US nuclear submarines to Australia under the AUKUS cooperation, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, will place Canberra among the top five countries with such weapons, posing a significant risk to the non-proliferation system.
During a debate on strategic stability at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Ryabkov said, "We are concerned ... about the recent announcement by the US, UK and Australia to develop a technologically advanced partnership that will allow Australia, after 18 months of consultation and several years of practical effort, to obtain large numbers of nuclear submarines, putting it in the top five countries with similar arsenals. This is a big challenge to the international non-proliferation regime,".
Also read | EU seeks to mend ties with US amid row over submarine deal with Australia
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister also stated that Moscow will not repeat its offer to Washington of freezing nuclear warheads for a year.
"This was a one-time proposal. It [the US] missed this opportunity, "Ryabkov said.
"We agreed to set up two working groups that will address these [strategic stability] issues," he said.
Watch | After submarine deal, US Air Force to be stationed in Australia
According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, Russia and the United States have agreed to establish two working groups on strategic stability problems.
"First, we will have to continue the exchange of signals, rather than questions and answers, which are the core of the work at the current stage. It can be done as the work proceeds. For instance, today the methodology included responding to questions that each side had sent to the other before, " he said, adding that the groups will be tasked with analysing each other’s approaches.
"Then, we will see more clearly when it is time for another offline meeting," he noted.
One group would deal with arms control problems, while the other would deal with technical elements of the countries' nuclear arsenals and "each other's activities" that might have a strategic impact, according to Ryabkov.
"In other words, on the one hand, thoughts and theories, and on the other hand, practical issues and what the sides have," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)