Trump says Russia sanctions can be lifted in exchange for nuclear arms cut
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will propose offering to end sanctions imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he told The Times of London, according to Reuters.
Trump, in an interview with the newspaper published online on Sunday, was deeply critical of previous U.S. foreign policy, describing the invasion of Iraq as possibly the gravest error in the history of the United States and akin to "throwing rocks into a beehive", Reuters reported citing The Times.
But ahead of his inauguration on Friday as the 45th U.S. president, Trump raised the prospect of the first major step toward nuclear arms control since President Barack Obama struck a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia in 2010.
"They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia," the Republican president-elect was quoted as saying by The Times.
"For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it. But Russia’s hurting very badly right now because of sanctions, but I think something can happen that a lot of people are gonna benefit."
The United States and Russia are by far the world's biggest nuclear powers. The United States has 1,367 nuclear warheads on deployed strategic missiles and bombers, while Russia has 1,796 such deployed warheads, according to the latest published assessment by the U.S. State Department.
The issue has faced renewed scrutiny after an unsubstantiated report that Russia had collected compromising information about Trump. Mr Trump has vowed to improve relations with Moscow even as he faces criticism he is too eager to make an ally of Putin, a former KGB spy who rose to the top of the Kremlin in 1999, Reuters reported citing The Times.
Read alsoTrump open to lifting Russian sanctions if "we get along"The unverified dossier was summarized in a U.S. intelligence report presented to him and Obama this month that concluded Russia tried to sway the outcome of the Nov. 8 election in Trump's favor by hacking and other means. The report did not make an assessment on whether Russia's attempts affected the election's outcome.
Read alsoReuters: CIA director warns Trump to watch what he says, be careful on RussiaTrump accused U.S. intelligence agencies of leaking the dossier information, which he called "fake news" and phony stuff." Intelligence leaders denied the charge.