WASHINGTON, October 21. /TASS/. The United States will consider the extension of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) with Russia historic and proceeds from the fact that Moscow has agreed to it in principle, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated at a briefing for journalists on Wednesday.
"Russia has agreed in principle to freeze all of its nuclear warheads, we are very pleased about that," he said. According to him, "to extend that agreement would be historic." "But we need to make sure that US and Russian negotiators get together just as soon as possible to continue to make progress to finalize a verifiable agreement," the Secretary of State added.
"President Trump has made it clear that the New START treaty by itself is not a good deal for the United States or our friends or allies. Only 45% of Russia’s nuclear arsenal is subject to numerical limits posing a threat to the United States and our NATO allies. Meanwhile, that agreement restricts 92% of America’s arsenal that is subject to the limits contained in the New START agreement. And China? China, of course, is not bound at all. 0% of their weapon systems are governed and restricted by that New START agreement," he noted.
Earlier Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Moscow hopes to continue the dialogue on the New START treaty with the US since it is important for global security.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry stated that if the United States agrees to extend the New START, Moscow will be prepared to freeze the number of nuclear warheads for one year together with the US side on the condition Washington puts forward no extra demands. On October 16, President Vladimir Putin suggested extending the New START at least by one year without any preconditions. He believes that the extra time might be used for conducting meaningful negotiations. The United States rejected this proposal.
On Tuesday, spokesperson for the US State Department Morgan Ortagus stated that the United States is ready to hold a meeting immediately with Russia to finalize the agreement to extend the New START. She noted that Washington appreciates the Russian Federation’s willingness to make progress on the issue of nuclear arms control. Earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that Russia’s willingness to jointly freeze nuclear arsenals with the US will make it possible to reach a New START extension by a year in the coming days, citing its sources in the US administration.
Gold standard in the disarmament sphere
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) was signed by Russia and the United States in 2010. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry 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 ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. It will remain effective until February 5, 2021, unless a new document is signed to replace it. The document can be extended for no more than five years, that is, until 2026, by mutual agreement of the parties.
Moscow has urged Washington not to postpone the decision on the extension of the arms control deal, characterizing it as the gold standard in the disarmament sphere. In an interview with the Financial Times in late June 2019 Russian President Vladimir Putin said that once this treaty ceased to exist, "then there would be no instrument in the world to curtail the arms race.".