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News In Brief

February 29, 1984



Moscow

Ustinov blames US for arms talks letup

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The Soviet defense minister, Dmitri Ustinov, says the United States is to blame for making it ''impossible'' to continue negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe, Monitor correspondent Gary Thatcher reports.

Mr. Ustinov, speaking at an election rally in Moscow, said the US has embarked on ''an unprecedented arms race'' and warned that as a result ''the combat preparedness of the Soviet armed forces'' is at a high level.

In a related development, Pravda, the official Communist Party newspaper, published the full text of a speech given Monday by Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. In it, he repeated Soviet demands that the US and its NATO allies show readiness to ''return to the situation that existed before'' the deployment of new intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe.

Western diplomats here in Moscow say it is unclear whether the Soviets are calling for a halt on further deployments or removal of the missiles that have already been deployed.