On Saturday, The Daily Beast reported that Russian media is thrilled by President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Open Skies Treaty — and that the president’s international saber-rattling could lead to them withdrawing from a key anti-nuclear weapon treaty.
“In Russia, Trump’s commentary and the timing of the intended withdrawal from Open Skies were interpreted as a sign that the move is merely political, with no tangible repercussions for the Kremlin,” reported Julia Davis. “Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov mentioned that the Kremlin’s exchanges with Washington were taking place via the traditional and non-traditional channels, but described the Trump administration’s demands and ultimatums as ‘senseless’ and ‘categorically unacceptable.’”
Meanwhile, according to the report, “Russian state-owned radio station Vesti FM described Trump’s dangerous flailing on the international arena as his desire ‘to play with toy soldiers,’” and Health Ministry specialist Elena Malinnikova “said that Trump must really be taking the regimen of hydroxychloroquine, since it’s known to cause psychotic side effects” on Russia’s 60 Minutes.
Trump reportedly is also considering resuming nuclear weapons tests — and that could cause Russia to escalate their defiance of international law even further.
“Washington’s approach reportedly is rooted in the flawed assumption that renewed nuclear testing would prompt the Kremlin to pressure the Chinese into joining a trilateral agreement with the United States and Russia,” wrote Davis. “This concept was dismissed out of hand by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. During an online forum conducted by the Gorchakov Fund, a Russian think tank, Ryabkov asserted that the Kremlin didn’t intend to apply any pressure to China to please Washington.”
“Instead of playing along with Trump’s dangerous brinkmanship, Russia may pull out of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty altogether,” wrote Davis. “Alexei Fenenko, an associate professor of global politics at Moscow State University, told the state media outlet RIA Novosti that such a withdrawal would be ‘beneficial for Russia, since the collapse of this treaty would cause colossal damage to the United States of America.’ State media outlet Vesti surmised that such a move would obliterate all of Washington’s efforts and decades-long investments in the nuclear ban treaty.”
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