Following the Biden administration’s announcement that they would be supplying 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the country is "on the verge of a direct collision between the US and NATO."
Speaking with the state-owned news agency RIA, Ryabkov called the US’s decision to supply tanks an "extremely destructive step" which has "escalated" the war in Ukraine.
With the US looking to inflict "strategic defeat" on Russia, Ryabkov claimed that the future of the New START nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Moscow could be in jeopardy.
Ryabkov said that the last pillar of the treaty could expire in 2026 without a replacement.
The New START treaty, signed in 2011 and extended through 2026, sets limits on the amount of intercontinental-range nuclear weapons the two countries can hold. According to the Daily Mail, the US and Russia combined hold 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.
When asked if it was possible that there is no nuclear treaty after the end of New START in 2026, Ryabkov said "this is quite a possibility."
"New START may well fall victim to this," Ryabkov told RIA. "We are ready for such a scenario."
Ryabkov said that the New START treaty had aimed to strengthen strategic relations based on "mutual trust" and the principle of security, but added that these provisions have been "violated in the most rough and cynical way by American actions at resolving the so-called 'Russian question' through aggressive containment."
Ryabkov warned this means Russia is now on the "verge of a direct collision between the US and NATO."
"Our relations have been brought to this dead end by Washington's anti-Russian line, which has been toughening year by year and month by month over the past years," he added. "The entire security situation, including arms control, has been held hostage by the US line of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia. We will oppose this in the most resolute way, using all the methods and means at our disposal."
US-Russia talks on resuming inspections under the New START treaty were called off abruptly in November of 2022, and the two sides have yet to agree on a new time frame for talks.
Under the treaty, the US and Russia are both limited to 1,550 warheads on deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, heavy bombers, and submarine ballistic missiles.
"Expiration of the Treaty without a follow-on agreement would leave Russia free to expand strategic nuclear forces that are now constrained, as well as novel intercontinental-range and regional systems that are not currently limited by the Treaty," The Daily Mail reports according to the US Nuclear Posture Review.
In addition to the US supplying Abrams tanks to Ukraine, Germany has said it would supply 14 Leopard tanks and give the green light to other NATO countries to deliver their own tanks to Ukraine.
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