National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday there was no chance the Trump administration would reverse its decision to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons accord – despite hearing directly from President Vladimir Putin about Russia’s concerns with the move.
After a 90-minute meeting with Putin, Bolton renewed U.S. accusations that Russia is violating the treaty and suggested it would be a waste of time to try to persuade the Kremlin to comply. Bolton suggested the treaty was outmoded anyway.
“There’s a new strategic reality out there,” Bolton said. “This is a cold war bilateral ballistic-missile-related treaty – in a multipolar ballistic-missile world.”
In an interview with a Moscow reporter, Bolton was asked what Russia would have to do to get the U.S. to reconsider. He said only if China and Russia gave up all their intermediate-range missiles would President Donald Trump think twice about his decision.
“If Russia were to dismantle all of its equipment in violation of the treaty and China did the same, that that would be a different circumstance,” Bolton told Kommersat. “I think there’s zero chance of that happening.”
Russia has denied allegations that it is violating the treaty, which the Obama administration also leveled.
On Tuesday, Putin expressed dismay at the U.S. announcement. Referring to the Great Seal of the United States – which features a bald eagle with 13 arrows in one talon and 13 olives in the other – Putin joked that the U.S. seemed to only have arrows left.