Valetta, Malta: March 2017

Joint Statement of the US-Russia Elbe Group


The Elbe Group takes its inspiration from the relationship that existed between the United States and Russia during the Second World War; a time when our two nations, despite considerable differences, joined forces against a common threat.

In the course of our meeting the following matters were discussed:

  • The need to create a real and active anti-ISIS coalition in the Middle East and North Africa in support of a global war on Islamic extremism.
  • Strategic Stability (European Security, Ukraine, NATO, BMD, Syria)
  • Nuclear Force Modernization
  • Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism

Speakers were: Former Ambassador to NATO, Douglas Lute and deputy head of the MFA department for European Security, Grigorii Sumkin.

Uniqueness of the moment

Of all the current threats, the greatest danger comes from ISIS, particularly the threat of a global jihad that resembles the threat that fascism presented in the Second World War. Decisive action is required now to counteract ISIS. Therefore, it is highly desirable that the Presidents of Russia and the United States convene a bilateral summit at the earliest possible time.


In the interest of the global fight against Islamic extremism, the sides should create a genuine anti-ISIS coalition in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa.

While Russia and the US continue their mediation efforts in Syria to halt hostilities and develop measures aimed at preserving Syria and Iraq as unified states, the Elbe Group believes that, for the final and decisive defeat of ISIS, it is necessary for the two countries to combine their efforts and create an active and united coalition.

To that end, as a first and necessary step – the sides should authorize practical interaction on these issues by military agencies and special services of both countries as soon as practical.

Strategic Stability

Regarding strategic stability, the Elbe group emphasizes adherence to the principles of equality in global and regional security for all countries, rejecting domination by one country over another.

The Elbe Group considers it necessary to:

  • Take measures to decrease tensions and increase stability in Europe.
  • Resume Russia-NATO cooperation first and foremost at the level of military missions. Trust, respect and openness should be principles of such cooperation.
  • Resurrect the practice of inviting observers to military exercises.

Regarding the resolution of the internal Ukrainian conflict, the Elbe Group remains committed to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and welcomes the search for other ways to resolve this conflict. This should not be an obstacle to the discussion and resolution of other serious and immediate problems which stand before us.

Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism

The threat of nuclear terrorism persists. There is no doubt that terrorists are working to penetrate facilities containing weapons of mass destruction in order to use the captured materials to carry out terrorist attacks.

The Elbe Group notes that the sides are making significant efforts to protect nuclear facilities and fissile materials storage sites from acts of terrorism.

In the future, it will be necessary to continuously increase and concentrate efforts in this area because, the threat of nuclear terrorism will grow with time.

The “insider threat” and the use of the latest breakthrough scientific technologies for criminal purposes merit special attention.

Nuclear Forces Modernization

The US side informed Elbe Group participants about modernization measures of its nuclear arsenal.

The Elbe Group emphasizes that nuclear weapons’ modernization measures should not lead to a renewed arms race.


The Elbe Group believes that at this time, Russia and the US have a unique and historical opportunity to achieve progress in bilateral relations and to provide mutual security and stability in the world. All necessary conditions for that are present.