Russia FM says arms control issues no less relevant than during Cold War

Arms control tasks are no less topical than during the Cold War years, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday at a meeting with Co-Chairman of the Initiative to Reduce Nuclear Threat and member of the Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing the Nuclear Catastrophe Sam Nunn.

"You are well known in Russia as an influential politician who has made a real contribution to strengthening the strategic stability and arms control," Lavrov said. "At all stages of the activities, you solved these problems through equitable dialogue between our two countries. The NGO you head promotes the same tasks. This is no less topical than during the Cold War years."

Russia’s top diplomat pointed to the importance of dialogue between political scientists and civil society in the two countries as "an important way to boost confidence and mutual understanding."

According to Nunn, cooperation between Russia and the United States could be better, because there are enough threats in the world that need to be addressed jointly. He described the initiative on the ceasefire in Syria as extremely important and thanked Putin for the political will shown by him.

US senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, in accordance with the Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of December 12, 1991, developed the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR). Under this program, the United States provided assistance to the former Soviet republics in recycling decommissioned nuclear and chemical weapons and their means of delivery. The legal basis for the use of U.S. aid in Russia was the bilateral framework agreement on safe and secure transportation, storage and destruction of weapons and the prevention of weapons proliferation of June 17, 1992 (extended in 1999 and 2006).

The implementation of the program began in 1993. According to the data provided by the American side, more than 7,500 strategic nuclear warheads were put out of operation under the program, about 1,000 intercontinental ballistic missiles, hundreds of missiles of other types, more than 100 bombers and hundreds of missile launchers were scrapped. The U.S. program expired on June 16, 2013.