March 27, 2010

As Obama Hails Arms Pact, Applause in Kremlin Is Faint

MOSCOW — On a Friday that began in Washington with a triumphant presidential news conference about the conclusion of arms talks with Russia, Moscow seemed to have its mind on other things.

President Dmitri A. Medvedev was in Sochi, scolding Olympic trainers over their athletes’ dismal showing in Vancouver. Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin gave a speech on the dangers posed by spring flooding. The highest-ranking Russian official to address reporters about the treaty was Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, who hastily gathered the press at dinnertime in a tiny ministry conference room.

Mr. Lavrov called the agreement “real progress” in the relationship between Russia and the United States, but added that Russia could pull out if it concluded that the American missile defense plans had compromised its nuclear deterrent. Indeed, unease over missile defense was seeping into commentary even as officials hailed a mutual success.

The New York Times

March 26, 2010