MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. Prolonging the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for five years is a key factor for maintaining the nuclear disarmament process, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Nonproliferation and Arms Control Department, Mikhail Ulyanov, said on Friday.
"Obviously, the simplest step to put the nuclear security situation on a positive track is to reach an agreement on extending the START Treaty for five years," the diplomat said at the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference. "This opportunity is stipulated by the treaty itself, but a partner is required to accomplish that, and we do not have it yet."
The New START Treaty was signed on April 8, 2010, and came into force on February 5, 2011. Under the document, each side should have no more than 1,550 nuclear warheads, 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles, heavy bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles by next February.
In January, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke out in favor of continuing the process of reducing nuclear weapons. However, a month later US President Donald Trump expressed dissatisfaction with the New START Treaty, which even had the backing of the Pentagon’s "hawks."
Last week, the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN said that Moscow cannot go on reducing nuclear arsenals exclusively on a bilateral basis with the United States and believes that other countries’ weapons should be taken into account in this process.
On October 3, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Anita Friedt, said that, although the United States is committed to its obligations under the treaty, the current international environment does not make it possible to conduct negotiations on further steps in nuclear disarmament.