September 11, 2014 / 3:29 PM / 4 years ago

Russia says dissatisfied with U.S. talks over arms treaty concerns

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it was dissatisfied with talks held with U.S. officials to address concerns that Moscow had violated a Cold War-era arms control agreement by testing a ground-launched cruise missile.

Relations between the two countries are at their lowest since the Cold War because of Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine, and both Moscow and Washington question the other’s commitment to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

Russia argues that Washington’s use of drones and other intermediate-range arms amounts to a violation of the treaty and has said that planned U.S. weapons tests in Romania and Poland may also breach the agreement.

The talks in Moscow were attended by U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller. The U.S. side had no immediate comment, said a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

“We were not satisfied with their answers,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry’s arms control chief Mikhail Ulyanov, who represented the Russian side at the talks.

“We would have liked our American colleagues to have formed their concerns more clearly and understandably, not in general, but concretely,” he told Russian news agency Itar-Tass.

The INF treaty eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500-5,500 km (300-3,400 miles) near the end of the Cold War.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said last month Moscow was committed to the treaty but President Vladimir Putin has questioned whether it meets Russia’s interests.

Ulyanov said no further meetings were planned but that he hoped the dialogue on the treaty would continue.

“We have many channels through which it is possible to carry out a conversation and exchange information,” he said.

He said Russia had voiced concerns over planned U.S. ground-launched arms tests next year in Romania and in 2018 in Poland, which he said the U.S. side assured him would only use anti-rocket defenses and would not fall foul of the treaty.

Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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