The Kremlin has pushed back on an apparent nuclear arms reduction deal with Donald Trump. The president-elect was reportedly hoping to broker a deal where he would lift the Russian sanctions imposed by Obama in exchange for the country minimizing its number of nuclear arms. All of this sends mixed signals after both Vladimir Putin and Trump were signaling an increase in their countries’ respective arsenals.
The revelations were originally revealed in The Times of London and Bild on Monday, as noted by The Daily Beast, where Trump said he would possibly consider lifting sanctions if Russia played ball with his request. But Moscow responded by telling the president-elect not so fast. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said they’re not interested not interested in talking about conditions, including nuclear disarmament, for sanction removal:
“Sanctions are not a subject for dialogue. We have never discussed any criteria for the listing of sanctions and are not doing it now. All these sanctions were introduced under contrived and illegitimate pretexts.”
But Ryabkov went on to say that he is not ruling out the possibility of talking with the incoming administration to help lift the sanctions imposed by President Obama. However, he says the Kremlin is not interested in scaling back its arms capabilities:
“I am convinced that for both of us, one of the priorities and tasks would be to renew dialogue on strategic stability, which like everything else, was destroyed by the Obama administration.”
Trump has called himself a master negotiator, and dealing with the Russian sanctions may be one of his first tests when he comes into office. It will remain to be seen if he will play hardball or be a bit more relaxed. And his apparent nonchalance toward Russian hacking allegations may offer a sneak peek into his negotiation style with Russia.