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Putin suggests extending the START nuclear weapons control treaty for another year

Russia’s Vladimir Putin proposes yearlong extension of New START nuclear treaty with U.S.   “It would be extremely sad if the treaty ceases to exist without being replaced by another fundamental document of the kind,” Putin said.  Oct. 17, 2020, NBC News, By The Associated Press,   MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday made a strong call to save the last existing nuclear arms control pact between his country and the United States, proposing to extend it at least for one year.Putin’s statement comes amid conflicting signals from Russian and U.S. diplomats about the fate of the New START treaty that is set to expire in February unless Moscow and Washington agree on its extension.

Speaking at a meeting of his Security Council, Putin said that “it would be extremely sad if the treaty ceases to exist without being replaced by another fundamental document of the kind.”

“All those years, the New START has worked, playing its fundamental role of limiting and containing an arms race,” he noted.

The New START treaty was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The pact 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.

After both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year, New START is the only nuclear arms control deal between the two countries still standing.

Russia previously offered its extension for five years without any conditions, while the U.S. administration pushed for a new arms control agreement that would also include China. Moscow has described that idea as unfeasible, pointing at Beijing’s refusal to negotiate any deal that would reduce its much-smaller nuclear arsenal.

Putin on Friday proposed to “extend the existing treaty without any conditions for at least one year” to allow for “substantive talks,” instructing Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to get a quick U.S. answer to the offer. He emphasized that Russia is ready to discuss the new weapons it deployed in future arms talks with the United States.

Earlier this week, Lavrov voiced skepticism about reaching a deal on New START, noting that Russia can’t accept the conditions put forward by the United States for its extension.

Lavrov specified that Russia can’t agree to the U.S. proposal to limit battlefield nuclear weapons alongside nuclear warheads that arm strategic missiles and bombers until the U.S. agrees to withdraw its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.

He also noted that Moscow wouldn’t accept the U.S. demand to have intrusive verification measures like those that existed in the 1990s when inspectors were positioned at missile factories……… https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russia-s-vladimir-putin-proposes-yearlong-extension-new-start-nuclear-n1243741

October 17, 2020 - Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war

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