MOSCOW – A Russian official said Friday that U.S. plans for a revamped missile defense system in Romania are stalling talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency that Washington's plans "in the most immediate sense" are "influencing" Russian-U.S. negotiations on a replacement to a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that expired in 2009.
Washington and Moscow said minor issues in the new treaty prevented a signing last year.
Washington is in negotiations to station anti-ballistic missile interceptors in Romania, which Russia considers too close and a detriment to its own defense capability.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria said Friday that it has not held talks with the U.S. about hosting part of a U.S. missile shield, despite an earlier indication that it planned such a meeting.
U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle said earlier this month that the U.S. has agreed to include treaty language sought by Russia that would acknowledge the link between defensive systems — such as the missile shield — with offensive systems.