Trump offers Russia deal to end sanctions

London, Jan 16 (IANS) US President-elect Donald Trump on Monday 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, Trump said he wanted nuclear weapons arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers — the US and Russia — to be “reduced very substantially”.

“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 the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), an alliance formed to counter the military power of the former USSR, has become obsolete.

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

In Moscow, Members of Parliament gave a mixed reaction to Trump’s statement on the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the upper house of parliament’s International Affairs Committee, was cited by RIA Novosti news agency as saying that getting the sanctions annulled was not a goal in itself and not worth making security concessions for.

But another Russian senator, Oleg Morozov, was quoted by the same agency as saying that Moscow would be ready to discuss the issue of nuclear cuts, something, he said, Russia itself favoured.

–IANS

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