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US-Russia Nuclear Arms Reduction Deal Possible

Trump’s proposition to lift sanctions on Russia in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal was received with uncertainty from Russian lawmakers
Flag-hoisting at the Russian Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarineFlag-hoisting at the Russian Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine

The US president-elect, Donald Trump, has told a British newspaper that he will offer to end sanctions against Russia in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with the Kremlin.

In an interview with The Times of London published late on Monday, Trump said he wanted nuclear weapons arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers-the United States and Russia-to be “reduced very substantially”, Aljazeera reported.

“They have sanctions on Russia; let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it,” Trump was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

However, on December 22, Trump tweeted that the US must “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.

Around the same time, Russian leader Vladimir Putin also called for the strengthening of “strategic nuclear forces”.

In Monday’s interview, Trump said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an alliance formed to counter the military power of the former USSR, has become obsolete.

NATO has not been “taking care of terror”, he said.

Trump also criticized Russia for its intervention in the Syrian war, describing it as “a very bad thing” that had led to a “terrible humanitarian situation”.

The interview was conducted by Michael Gove, a Conservative Party member and prominent Brexit campaigner who is known to be close to Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News.

News of Trump’s plan came as the outgoing US intelligence chief said Trump lacks a full understanding of the threat Moscow poses to the US.

CIA Director John Brennan’s message on national television came five days before Trump becomes the nation’s 45th president, amid lingering questions about Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

“Now that he’s going to have an opportunity to do something for our national security as opposed to talking and tweeting, he’s going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that US and national security interests are protected,” Brennan said on Fox News.

  Lifting Sanctions “Not a Goal in Itself”

Russian upper house of parliament foreign affairs committee chairman, Konstantin Kosachev, on Monday said persuading the United States to lift anti-Russia sanctions is not a goal in and of itself to concede in areas, including security.

“The lifting of sanctions is certainly not an end of itself for Russia. It is not even a strategic goal where it would be necessary to sacrifice something, especially in the field of security,” Kosachev told RIA Novosti.

Kosachev said he would not equate Trump’s words to a “formal proposal” yet.

“Reducing the number of nuclear weapons to a level where US military power in other areas will render our main weapon ineffective is of course impossible. That is why all this must be considered in conjunction with other factors, including the nuclear capabilities of other countries and the development of other types of weapons,” he said.

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