Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed on Friday to extend the Russian-American disarmament agreement New Start by one year without attaching any conditions to it. Three days ago the US had already proposed an extension of the treaty. That treaty will expire at the beginning of 2021.
“I propose that we now renew the accord unconditionally, so that we have the opportunity to negotiate a new accord with knowledge of all the elements that are needed,” Putin said at a meeting of his security council.
The first START treaty was signed five months before the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991. It has been succeeded by modified versions, START II (1993), SORT (2002) and the new START treaty (2010). The latter will end in February.
US negotiator Marshall Billingslea reported earlier this week that the governments in Moscow and Washington have “reached an agreement in principle” at the highest levels to extend the nuclear arms control treaty. His Russian interlocutor Sergei Riabkov contradicted this. He called the US condition to limit or freeze Russia’s arsenal unacceptable.
The treaty requires both countries to limit their nuclear weapons stocks to 1,550 operational warheads.