Russia calls for further strategic offensive arsenal reduction, and has made a related understanding with the USA, in principle, said Igor Ivanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as he was addressing newsmen after President Vladimir Putin's conference with top-notch US political and community activists, and businessmen. Russia and the USA will now engage in talks and consultations for a basis acceptable to both to put the understandings on a legal footing, said the minister. The strategic offensive arms issue implies a process and so defies solutions for the here-and-now. As the Russian and US Presidents have determined, it pools in offensive and defensive arsenal issues. A stride forward was made in the process as particular strategic offensive arsenal reduction levels to which the USA concedes were specified. Consultations will shortly open on a treaty framework in which the cuts will go. That will be a hard and long job, said Mr. Ivanov. The main thing is done, however--trends have been determined for further arms reduction. The two countries are closely approaching drastic cuts, and that is quite evident. As he went over to the bilateral ABM treaty, Mr. Ivanov pointed out a difference of approaches to the matter. Made 29 years ago, the treaty is outdated, argues the USA, while Russia regards it as making further service to security interests, pointed out the minister as he called for detailed analyses to see just what about the treaty was outdated and what remained topical. As Russia sees it, ABM treaty premises may serve the tasks of today. "We do not think the treaty is outdated because no one has precisely said to this day what was outdated about it, and what was encroaching on anyone's interests from the national security point," remarked the Foreign Minister.
Maria Zakharova, an official representative for the Russian Foreign Ministry, commented on the attack that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) conducted on the Russian city of Belgorod