Putin ready to extend New START

Russian President Vladimir Putin assured of Russia’s readiness to work with the United States on extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) during a meeting with permanent members of the country’s Security Council on Friday, the Kremlin said.

“I have a proposal, namely, to extend the current Treaty without any conditions for at least a year in order to be able to conduct meaningful negotiations on all issues that are governed by agreements of this kind,” Putin said during the meeting.

He further positively assessed the role of the treaty in previous years, saying it was a successful instrument in curbing the arms race.

“We are in fairly close contact with our U.S. colleagues on a range of issues related to strategic stability, where we would like to underline the continuing strength and growing urgency of our initiative to decide as soon as possible on the extension of the current New START Treaty, which is about to expire in February next year, for the next five years without any preconditions,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the meeting.

Lavrov further informed that Russia continues to work with the United States on new agreements aimed at maintaining strategic stability. He said that the situation remains critical as the treaty is going to expire.

In 2010, Washington and Moscow signed the New START, which stipulates limits to the numbers of deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems by both. The New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers, will expire on Feb. 5, 2021.

The agreement can be extended for at most five years with the consent of the two countries. The U.S. administration has declined to commit to extending it.