Sergei Lavrov: U.S. actions in missile defense sabotage prospects of 'nuclear zero' achievement

The unilateral actions carried out by the United States in the sphere of missile defense sabotage strategic stability, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The unilateral actions carried out by the United States in the sphere of missile defense sabotage strategic stability, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"A whole number of factors now influence strategic parity. Among them are the unilateral actions taken by the U.S. and their allies in the sphere of missile defense, which have already had a destructive effect on strategic stability, essentially sabotaging the prospects of achieving 'nuclear zero', a goal that, as I understand, many people who are present in this room share," Lavrov said at a disarmament conference in Geneva on Monday.

"We can't ignore the fact that many types of high-precision weapons by their capabilities are now close to weapons of mass destruction, and by giving up or sharply reducing nuclear potential will give countries at the forefront of creation and production of high-precision systems a clear military advantage, which may also disrupt parity and cause destabilization," Lavrov said.

Russia is concerned about the presence of United States' nuclear weapons in Europe and the involvement of NATO non-nuclear countries in the training of the use of nuclear weapons, minister said.

"U.S. nuclear weapons capable of reaching Russian territory remain operatively deployed in Europe. The U.S. weapons are being modernized, moreover, some European 'non-nuclear' members of NATO are actively involved in the so-called 'joint nuclear missions'," Lavrov said.

"The joint training of the use of nuclear weapons involving NATO 'non-nuclear countries' supported by decisions of the NATO summit held in Wales last year is violating the first two fundamental articles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," the minister stated.

"Russia adheres to nuclear disarmament. That is clearly confirmed by the strict observance of the Russian-U.S. New START Treaty. Our priority is to reach the delivery vehicle and warhead levels envisaged by the Treaty by 2018," Lavrov said.


Moscow to insist on Middle East WMD-free zone conference

Moscow is concerned about uncertain prospects of a conference dedicated to a zone free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, minister Lavrov said.

"The efforts of many countries, among them Russia, gave hope for a reasonable package [of documents] regarding the agenda and procedure of the forum. Yet the attempt to hold this important event on time failed," the minister said.

"The task of launching negotiations on the WMD-free zone remains a primary item on the global agenda," Lavrov said.

"We think it is important to carry on the dialogue involving all regional countries for the soonest convocation of the conference," the minister said.

The minister welcomed the expansion of nuclear-free zones.

"A protocol to the Central Asia nuclear-free zone agreement signed by the Five [P5] last year was an important contribution to the process. Russia is also ready to sign a protocol to the Bangkok treaty on the nuclear-free zone in Southeast Asia," the Russian minister said.


Read more: Moscow monitoring situation on Korean Peninsula amid drills, missile launches>>>

The Russian Foreign Ministry is monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula in the context of the U.S.-South Korean military exercises and test launches of North Korean ballistic missiles.


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