The Trump administration recently proposed a one-year extension to the New START agreement, which expires in February 2021, but must be accompanied by the imposition of broader restrictions on US and Russian nuclear warheads. This requirement will cover warheads not restricted by the New START agreement.
However, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin came up with a new proposal namely extending the New START agreement unconditionally.(Also read: Putin proposes the New START agreement to be extended by one year)
This proposal was rejected by President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien. He even advised the Russians to rethink their attitude before an expensive arms race took place.
In a written statement, O’Brien said the US approach would be a win for both sides, and he thought Russia was willing to accept this proposal when it met them in Geneva on October 2.
“President Putin’s response today to extend New START without freezing nuclear warheads is not an easy one,” said O’Brien.
“The United States is serious about arms control that will keep the world safe. We hope Russia will re-evaluate its position before an expensive arms race occurs, “he continued as quoted by the Associated Press, Saturday (17/10/2020).
But a different statement was made by the arms control association’s executive director, Daryl Kimball. In an interview, Kimball said he hoped Trump would accept Putin’s offer of an unconditional extension of the short-term agreement, given New START’s near-end in early February.
“We are in the 11th hour now, and we urge President Trump to accept a yes,” said Kimball, adding that he believed this would attract broad bipartisan support in the US.
While Putin offers to extend New START as is, the US wants a broader temporary freeze on all nuclear warheads, including battlefield nuclear weapons not covered by the treaty, which only limits strategic nuclear arsenal. Moscow said it could not accept the request.(Also read: If Russia Freezes Nuclear Weapons, the US Is Ready to Extend the START Treaty)
The New START agreement was signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The pact limits each country to no more than 1,550 nuclear warheads deployed and 700 missiles and bombs deployed, and on-site inspections to verify compliance with the deal.
After Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Armament Treaty last year, New START is the only nuclear weapons control agreement between the two countries that is still in effect.(Watch video: World Bank Statement on Labor Law)