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Nuclear arms talks spiral into confusion as Russia rejects US 'delusion'

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Nuclear arms talks spiral into confusion

US-Russian arms control talks have sunk into confusion after the top American negotiator claimed there was “an agreement in principle” between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, a claim Moscow quickly rejected as a “delusion”.

Marshall Billingslea, the US special envoy for arms control, said he had flown to Helsinki on Monday to meet the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, on the understanding that there could be an imminent breakthrough in discussions on whether to extend the 2010 New Start treaty, which limits the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side, and which expires in February.

“We believe that there is an agreement in principle at the highest levels of our two governments. That’s why I cut short my trip to Asia and made a beeline for Helsinki when the Russians called and wanted to sit down,” Billingslea told a Washington thinktank, in an apparent suggestion that there had been an informal verbal agreement between Trump and Putin.


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