Russia's former president dismissed a call by U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday to press on with talks on a new nuclear arms treaty, saying the appeal was out of place in a changed world.
Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy head of Russia's Security Council, said he had told Washington repeatedly that major issues, like a framework to replace the New START treaty, could not be done without Russian involvement.
Medvedev, writing on his Telegram channel, said Biden had "reluctantly spat out" the call for new talks, referring to Soviet-U.S. arms agreements concluded despite difficulties in the Cold War era.
"All this, of course, is good. But let me say it once again - the situation now is much worse than in the Cold War," wrote Medvedev, who served as president for four years while Vladimir Putin was prime minister.
"A lot worse! And through no fault of our own. The main thing is. ... do we really need this? The world is a different place."
A Russian foreign ministry source had earlier expressed puzzlement about Biden's proposal to negotiate the New START Treaty when it expires in 2026.
Biden said in a statement on Monday that his administration was ready to "expeditiously" negotiate a new framework but that Russia should demonstrate that it is ready to resume work on nuclear arms control with the United States.
"Is this a serious statement or has the White House website been hacked?" a Russian foreign ministry source told Reuters. "If this is still a serious intention, with whom exactly do they intend to discuss it?"
The New START Treaty, struck in 2011, obliged the United States and Russia to limit deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.
It also put limits on nuclear warheads on those deployed missiles and bombers and the launchers for those missiles. Both sides reached the central limits of the treaty by Feb. 5, 2018, and the treaty has been extended to the end of Feb. 4, 2026.