Russians not sold on Trump offer to link sanctions relief to arms control: report
Russian lawmakers aren’t sold on President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to end sanctions on the country in exchange for cuts to its nuclear arsenal.
Trump floated the idea of negotiations linking the sanctions to arms control in an interview with The Times of London, but according to Russian media reports, Russian lawmakers would decline the offer.
A report from state-run news outlet RIA on Monday was titled: “Will not sell. Russia does not see the relationship between disarmament and the lifting of sanctions,” according to an English translation.
In the article, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, said that lifting sanctions should be a part of a separate dialogue about normalizing U.S.-Russia relations.
Another Russian lawmaker also raised broader questions about arms control that were separate from the sanctions.
“If you look beyond the demagogic ‘aggressiveness and territory annexation of Russia,’ then it is evident that one of the biggest obstacles [to that deal] is the U.S. missile defense program, and subsequent U.S. attempts to ensure superiority in other areas – development of NATO’s infrastructure, basic armament, precision weaponry, drones and the militarization of space,” said Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev.
Trump has frequently said he hopes for the United States to develop stronger ties with Russia, especially in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Trump’s stance on Russia has sparked controversy. He acknowledged last week for the first time that Russia was likely behind the hacks of Democratic groups during the presidential campaign.
The president-elect had long been skeptical of those reports.
In the same interview where he floated trading sanctions for arms control, Trump said he would treat Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel – a U.S. ally –with the same level trust at the beginning of his presidency.
This story was updated at 5:26 p.m.