Russia has nuclear advances for an AI era, top arms control diplomat says

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on operational issues, outside Moscow

By Dmitry Antonov

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia's top diplomat for arms control said on Tuesday that Russia had made advances in nuclear deterrence that would allow it to ensure its security for decades to come even in an era dominated by advances in Artificial Intelligence.

Asked at a conference in Moscow if Russia could ensure nuclear security in an era of AI competition, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said it could.

"In recent years, such groundwork has been done in the field of nuclear deterrence that will allow us to ensure our own security for decades to come," Ryabkov, Russia's arms control point man, said.

Ryabkov also oversees relations with the U.S., which diplomats in both countries say are at their lowest point since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis due to a confrontation over the conflict in Ukraine.

He warned that if the West underestimated Moscow's resolve, it could lead to "tragic and fatal" consequences because the U.S. and its allies were confronting a major nuclear power - Russia.

Ryabkov said the West underestimated "Russia's readiness to stand up for itself and ensure its own interests in any situation."

"I don't even want to assume that this underestimation could become tragic and fatal," he said.

He said Russia had the resources to convey signals to the West in the field of nuclear deterrence but there was a danger the West could make a mistake.

"There is a danger, it cannot be underestimated, that their side may make a mistake. We will try not to," he said.

"Our common task is to prevent the world and the multipolar world, above all, from sliding into nuclear chaos," Ryabkov said.

Earlier, Alexei Arbatov, a prominent arms control expert, suggested that without dialogue on strategic stability between Russia and the U.S., then the multi-polar world could slide into nuclear chaos.

Arbatov said Russia and the U.S. should resume dialogue on strategic stability after the Ukraine war ends.

Arbatov suggested Russia and the U.S. should preserve New START, which expires in 2026, and agree a new arms control agreement. After that, Arbatov said, China, Britain and France could be included in strategic dialogue.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by David Gregorio)