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Russia and USA will talk about extending New START nuclear weapons treaty

US and Russia to discuss nuclear weapons treaty extension in October https://www.ft.com/content/b26d62fe-c0a1-11e8-95b1-d36dfef1b89aHenry Foy in Moscow

Russia and the US will hold talks on a potential extension to the New START nuclear weapons treaty in Geneva in October, a Russian official said on Tuesday. The future of bilateral treaties that govern the use of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is one of the most critical issues in US-Russia relations. Experts have warned that the recent breakdown in relations between Washington and Moscow could jeopardise longstanding agreements on so-called ‘strategic stability’ that were designed to prevent nuclear armageddon.

New START, a 2010 agreement that limits the number of nuclear warheads held by both countries, expires in February 2021. Separately, both capitals have accused the other of breaching the 1987 INF Treaty, which limits the use of long-range missiles. “It is absolutely realistic to reach an agreement on an extension [to New START], if there is political will on the part of the American side. There are readiness from the Russian side,” said Vladimir Yermakov, director of the department of non-proliferation and arms control at the Russian foreign ministry. “We have given suggestions on how to do this, and in a couple of weeks we will meet in Geneva within the framework of a bilateral advisory commission,” he added, in comments reported by local newswires.

The US and Russia possess 13,300 nuclear warheads between them, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 92 per cent of the world’s stockpile. New START’s terms allow for a five-year extension, and experts have suggested that writing a whole new agreement would not be possible before its expiry. Regarding the INF Treaty, Mr Yermakov said Russia was “ready to discuss any issues relating to the treaty with our American partners, in any format.” Mr Yermakov added that there was “not a very big possibility” of Russian signing any brand new arms control agreements in the next few years.

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September 26, 2018 - Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war

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