Moscow: The President of Russia met on Tuesday with the United States’ national security advisor on the second day of the latter’s visit to Moscow and told him that his government was puzzled by the US’ moves such as withdrawing from a Cold War-era nuclear arms control pact, which he said were hard to describe as friendly.
NSA John Bolton was on a two-day visit to meet with Russian authorities after President Donald Trump announced the US was unilaterally pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, Efe reported.
Vladimir Putin spoke first at the meeting with Bolton and said he would like to discuss various arms control issues, including Trump’s intention to pull the US out of the INF.
“In all honesty, we are puzzled to see the United States’ unprovoked moves that are hard to call friendly,” Putin said.
Putin also alluded to the US coat of arms showing a bald eagle holding a bundle of 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch with 13 olives in the other and playfully asked Bolton if the eagle had “eaten all the olives”.
“I hope to bring some answers to you, but I haven’t brought any olives,” Bolton replied.
Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had told reporters that there were currently no prospects for a new deal to replace the INF and stressed the “dangerous position” of giving up the INF treaty without an alternative in sight.
Bolton, on the other hand, underlined the importance of maintaining a dialogue open between Washington and Moscow regardless of current differences.