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Moscow doesn't believe the New START treaty with the US can be continued, as achieving common ground is impossible against the backdrop of ultimatums employed by Washington, the Russian Foreign Minister said on Wednesday.

In his interview with three Russian radio stations, Sergey Lavrov was asked if he saw any prospect of the two countries agreeing to prolong the landmark deal until 2026. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, obliges Russia and the US to reduce the number of their strategic nuclear missile launchers by half, and it expires in February. He replied:
"There is no such prospect. I personally don't see such a prospect. My colleagues who work ... with the American delegation don't see such a prospect either. We're simply explaining that talking through the language of ultimatums is impossible."
However, Lavrov added that Moscow would never say it was closing the door on negotiations or curbing contact with Washington on the issue.

The talks on prolonging the New START, which have been on hold for a year-and-a-half, finally resumed in June, with both sides expressing cautious optimism over their possible outcome.

But the negotiations have apparently reached a dead end since then, due to Washington's reluctance to seek compromise, and the demands for Russia to pressure China to join the deal. Beijing says it has no such plans, with Moscow on many occasions explaining to Washington that its requests were "unrealistic."

Signed in 2010, the New START remains the only major non-proliferation agreement between Russia and the US after Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty two years ago.