US-Russia New START Talks Postponed
Dave DeCamp,, Nov 28 2022

A meeting between US and Russian officials to discuss the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two powers, the New START, has been postponed, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday. The talks were scheduled to be held in Cairo, from Nov 29 to Dec 6. The Russian Foreign Ministry did not give a reason for the delay and just said the meeting has been “postponed to a later date.” The Biden administration is blaming Russia for the delay, with a State Dept spox saying the decision was made “unilaterally” by Moscow. The spox said:

The Russian side informed the US that Russia has unilaterally postponed the meeting and stated that it would propose new dates.

The New START treaty limits the deployment of missiles, warheads, and bombers and includes an inspection regime. But the inspections have been suspended since Mar 2020 due to COVID-19, and the negotiations were expected to focus on resuming them. The talks would have been held under the bilateral consultative commission (BCC), an implementation body established by the New START. The New START is due to expire in 2026, and there’s currently no plan for a replacement for the treaty. The US and Russia were engaged in broader arms control talks before Russia invaded Ukraine, but they were suspended by the Biden administration.

US Considering Sending Rockets With 100-Mile Range to Ukraine
Dave DeCamp,, Nov 28 2022

The US is considering supplying Ukraine with a new longer-range rocket system that can hit targets up to about 100 miles away, twice the range of the artillery systems the US has been providing Ukraine. According to a report from Reuters, Boeing has proposed to manufacture small precision-guided bombs that can be fit onto widely available rockets as US weapons makers are struggling to ramp up production of more advanced arms. Boeing said in its proposal that the system, known as Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), could be delivered to Ukraine as early as spring 2023. The system has been in development since 2019 and combines small-diameter bombs with the M26 rocket motor, which is widely available in US military inventories. Boeing’s proposal is just one idea being mulled by the US to get new weapons for Ukraine, as the policy of shipping tens of billions in arms to the country has been a boon for the defense industry. The Boeing plan would require waiving a mechanism that is in place to make sure the US government is getting a fair price. It would also mean that the main components for the GLSDBs would come from US military stockpiles, and other necessary parts would need to be expedited. The longest-range rocket system that the US has sent Ukraine so far is the HIMARS, which are currently equipped with munitions that can hit targets up to 50 miles. The GLSDB would be viewed as a significant escalation by Moscow as it would give Ukraine the ability to strike deep behind Russian lines.

EU Fails to Reach Agreement on Russia Oil Price Cap
Dave DeCamp,, Nov 28 2022

EU diplomats failed on Monday to agree on a set price cap for Russian oil as a Dec 5 deadline for the policy is approaching, Reuters reported. The main hindrance to reaching a deal was Poland, which is demanding a much lower price cap than what the G7 has requested. The EU was asked to put the price cap between $65 to $70 per barrel, but Poland wants it slashed down to $30, a similar figure to what Zelensky would like to see. An EU diplomat told Reuters:

The Poles are completely uncompromising on the price, without suggesting an acceptable alternative. Clearly there is growing annoyance with the Polish position.

The idea of the price cap, which has been pushed by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, is to keep Russian oil on the market to limit an increase in global prices while keeping Moscow’s profits down. Dec 5 is when the EU’s oil embargo on Russia begins, although there are exemptions for land-locked countries, including Hungary. The EU ban also includes a prohibition on providing insurance for Russian oil shipments. The price cap would allow such services to be provided as long as the oil is being sold at a price set by the West. But the plan’s major flaw is that it requires Moscow’s cooperation, and Russia has repeatedly stated that it will cut off any country that tries to implement the price cap. If Moscow retaliates by cutting oil production, it will send global prices skyrocketing and have the reverse effect of what Yellen says the plan can achieve. Polish diplomats told Reuters that if a price isn’t agreed upon by December 5, the EU sanctions on Russian oil will take effect without the price cap exemption.

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