Russia envoy: US and Russia need to start strategic dialogue

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia hopes the success of extending the last remaining United States (US)-Russia arms control treaty will give a new boost to re-starting a strategic dialogue between Moscow and the Biden administration, Russia’s deputy United Nations (UN) ambassador said on Wednesday.

Dmitry Polyansky told a press briefing that “there are a lot of security and strategic issues on the table”, including arms control, which require “a serious, in-depth dialogue, on equal footing”.

He said Russia is “cautiously optimistic” about Tuesday’s first phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden and their agreement to work together to extend the New START nuclear weapons treaty for five years.

Russia’s Parliament ratified the treaty on Wednesday and Polyansky expressed hope the Americans will not miss the February 5 deadline. “We, of course, will be judging the new administration and its attitude towards Russia by actions,” he said.

“So far, the first action that we saw yesterday is very positive.” Despite former US president Donald Trump being enamoured of Putin and frequently undercutting his own administration’s tough stance on Russia, relations between Moscow and Washington were at a low point when the Biden presidency began on January 20.

“For many years there was no dialogue between Russia and the US,” Polyansky said. “There were only accusations, and that’s the problem… We were making proposals, but they were ignored or criticised.”

US President Joe Biden shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow. PHOTO: AP