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US reluctant to hold meaningful talks on extending New START, says senior diplomat

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said heplps puttin it off by "by artificially creating uncertainty"

MOSCOW, September 12. /TASS/. Washington is demonstrating by any possible means that it is not ready to hold essential discussions on extending the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday.

"Washington continues to put off a resolution to the issue of extending [New START] by artificially creating uncertainty despite our proposals on prolonging the treaty for five or less years provided that there is an acceptable solution to the problem of re-equipping some strategic US launchers for a non-nuclear mission," the diplomat explained. Ryabkov’s statement was made during the presentation of a report titled "A new understanding and ways of enhancing multilateral strategic stability" at the TASS press center in Moscow.

"They are dropping hints that they are not ready for a substantive conversation on these issues, at least for now. Obviously, there is a temptation to play this uncertainty card," the senior diplomat said.

The New START Treaty, which was signed by Moscow and Washington in 2010, stipulates that seven years after it goes into effect, each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers.

The document is set to remain in effect until February 5, 2021, unless it is replaced with another agreement on nuclear arms reduction. It can also be extended for no more than five years (until 2026) with the consent of both parties.