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Another Nuclear Deal With U.S. In Trouble, Russian Minister Says

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news conference in Moscow on February 7.

Another U.S.-Russian nuclear treaty could soon expire without renewal following Washington's withdrawal from a Cold War-era arms-control pact, a senior Russian diplomat has said.

Talks to renew the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) agreement on nuclear-missile reduction must begin this year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the TASS news agency on February 7.

Ryabkov warned that time was running out to save the pact, which was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and is set to expire in February 2021.

Ryabkov said that Washington had shown "no readiness or desire" to engage in negotiations on prolonging the treaty that limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers.

Ryabkov said that campaigning for next year's U.S. presidential election could disrupt negotiations for renewing New START.

"This is why we need to do it this year," he said.

The White House announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty as of February 2, setting the stage for the treaty to terminate in six months. Russia has followed suit.

The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of violating the INF -- something Russia has repeatedly denied.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa