Russia Welcomes US Proposal to Extend Nuclear Treaty
MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Friday welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two countries, which is set to expire in less than two weeks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russia stands for extending the pact and is waiting to see the details of the U.S. proposal.
The White House said Thursday that Biden has proposed to Russia a five-year extension of the New START treaty.
“We can only welcome political will to extend the document,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. “But all will depend on the details of the proposal.”
The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. It expires on Feb. 5.
Russia has long proposed to prolong the pact without any conditions or changes, but President Donald Trump’s administration waited until last year to start talks and made the extension contingent on a set of demands. The talks stalled, and months of bargaining have failed to narrow differences.
“Certain conditions for the extension have been put forward, and some of them have been absolutely unacceptable for us, so let’s see first what the U.S. is offering,” Peskov said.
Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian ambassador at the international organizations in Vienna, also hailed Biden’s proposal as an “encouraging step.”
“The extension will give the two sides more time to consider possible additional measures aimed at strengthening strategic stability and global security,” he tweeted.
Biden indicated during the campaign that he favored the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice president.
The talks on the treaty’s extension also were clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States, which have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants.
Despite the extension proposal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden remains committed to holding Russia “to account for its reckless and adversarial actions,” such as its alleged involvement in the Solar Winds hacking event, 2020 election interference, the chemical poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and the widely reported allegations that Russia may have offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Asked to comment on Psaki’s statement, Peskov has reaffirmed Russia’s denial of involvement in any such activities.
After both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, New START is the only remaining nuclear arms control deal between the two countries.
Arms control advocates have strongly called for New START’s preservation, warning that its lapse would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces.
Last week, Russia also declared that it would follow the U.S. to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty allowing surveillance flights over military facilities to help build trust and transparency between Russia and the West.
While Russia always offered to extend New START for five years — a possibility envisaged by the pact — Trump asserted that it put the U.S. at a disadvantage and initially insisted that China be added to the treaty, an idea that Beijing flatly rejected. Trump’s administration then proposed to extend New START for just one year and also sought to expand it to include limits on battlefield nuclear weapons.
Moscow has said it remains open for new nuclear arms talks with the U.S. to negotiate future limits on prospective weapons, but emphasized that preserving New START is essential for global stability.
Russian diplomats have said that Russia’s prospective Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle could be counted along with other Russian nuclear weapons under the treaty.
The Sarmat is still under development, while the first missile unit armed with the Avangard became operational in December 2019.
The Russian military has said the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and could make sharp maneuvers on its way to a target to bypass missile defense systems. It has been fitted to the existing Soviet-built intercontinental ballistic missiles instead of older type warheads, and in the future could be fitted to the more powerful Sarmat.
In The News
WASHINGTON -- Had President Biden sought Gen. David Petraeus’s advice on the Allied troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, he has made... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Had President Biden sought Gen. David Petraeus’s advice on the Allied troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, he has made no secret of that fact he would have advised against it, even though the general admits the goals from engaging in 2001 have largely been met. ... Read More
The U.S. combat mission in Iraq will conclude by the end of the year, President Joe Biden announced Monday. However... Read More
The U.S. combat mission in Iraq will conclude by the end of the year, President Joe Biden announced Monday. However the president would not say whether he planned to reduce the number of troops in Iraq, which now number about 2,500. The announcement came during an... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Cuban Americans made a plea for the United States to help the people of their home country Monday... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Cuban Americans made a plea for the United States to help the people of their home country Monday during a protest in Washington, D.C. From a rally at the White House and during a march to the nearby Cuban Embassy, more than a thousand... Read More
BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday rejected an accusation by Washington and its Western allies that Beijing is to blame... Read More
BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday rejected an accusation by Washington and its Western allies that Beijing is to blame for a hack of the Microsoft Exchange email system and complained Chinese entities are victims of damaging U.S. cyberattacks. A foreign ministry spokesman demanded Washington drop... Read More
The United States, NATO and several allies collectively called out China on Monday for a series of malicious cyber- and... Read More
The United States, NATO and several allies collectively called out China on Monday for a series of malicious cyber- and ransomware attacks, including a March attack that exploited a flaw in Microsoft's Exchange Server. Monday’s announcement, which followed a conference call with White House reporters Sunday... Read More
A report from the U.S. voiced concern over ongoing human rights abuses, which the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken,... Read More
A report from the U.S. voiced concern over ongoing human rights abuses, which the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, at a press conference on Monday characterized as an attempt to apply international pressure to stop atrocities. In the 2021 Wiesel report, the country’s annual atrocity... Read More