The United States' unilateral withdrawal from the antiballistic missile defense treaty creates "a threat of undermining the disarmament base", said Mikhail Lysenko on Tuesday at a sitting of the international committee of the Federation Council. Lysenko is the acting director of the security and disarmament board at the Russian Foreign Ministry. "The United States is steering towards rocking the structure of disarmament in its selfish interest", he believes. Mikhail Lysenko stressed that effects of America's leaving the ABM treaty "will be felt for a long time to come". In this connection, Russia's goal should be "to prevent a legal vacuum and enforcement of an arms race in space", he said. Lysenko also pointed to the need of reaching agreements on a deep-going reduction of strategic armaments. Such agreements are important for the United States to be kept "within a predictable framework". This will let Russia work "on a wider range of questions towards the establishment of political stability in the world", believes Lysenko. In turn, Nikolai Zolotoi of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces called "a destabilising factor" the United States' decision to desert the treaty. If Russia does not take steps in response, the military-strategic balance will be tipped in favour of the United States, he thinks. To him, the Russian Defense Ministry is working out a set of measures intended to minimize the threat to Russia's national security. For that, he said, the technological readiness of weapons must be ensured and a system of neutralisation and defeating created. Such a programme "has in principle been approved", said the representative of the Russian General Staff.
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