US national security advisor meets with Russian leadership for discussions on nuclear treaty

US national security advisor meets with Russian leadership for discussions on nuclear treaty

US National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives in Moscow today for two days of talks with top Russian officials, which

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Photo: Reuters

US National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives in Moscow today for two days of talks with top Russian officials, which may include Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Bolton last travelled to Russia in June ahead of President Trump’s Helsinki summit with President Putin, after which President Trump came under fire. Critics accused the US president of accommodating Moscow, especially on the issue of electoral interference.

Recently, though, Mr Bolton’s hawkish stance toward Russia has changed Washington’s rhetoric. Mr Bolton contends that Russia’s weapons programmes violates a 1987 agreement that eliminated ground-launched intermediate missiles. As a result, Mr Bolton has called for President Trump to withdraw from the treaty and to remove other nuclear arms limitations.

Given Mr Bolton’s stances, today’s meetings are unlikely to strengthen the already tenuous ties between the two countries—the planning of another Trump-Putin summit remains highly unlikely. While nuclear treaties are also unlikely to be scrapped immediately, Washington appears to be signalling a shift toward harsher relations with Moscow. Posturing by both nations could put Cold War era nuclear arms treaties in jeopardy going forward, further escalating tensions.

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