US and Russian envoys raised the issue of tactical nuclear weapons during their arms control talks in Vienna earlier this week, a senior US Department of Defense official told reporters on Wednesday (Thursday, Jun 25, 2020 in Manila.)
Deputy Commander of the US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere told TASS that participants of the talks discussed Russia’s recently adopted state policy on nuclear deterrence. In his words, the US side sought "a greater, deeper understanding" of the matter. "We have an opportunity to briefly go through with the Russian General Staff our questions and concerns and clarifying aspects of that document," the US defense official said.
"In conjunction with that was a need and a desire to go forward and also to have a discussion not only on the greater meaning of that doctrine, to alleviate any misunderstandings or misperceptions, but to have a greater understanding and discussion on what we are terming as non-strategic nuclear weapons, also known as tactical nuclear weapons," he went on.
On June 22, Russia and the United States held talks on strategic stability and arms control behind closed doors in Vienna. The countries’ delegations were headed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea. The renewal of New START was also on the table of the talks.