WASHINGTON, January 12. /TASS/. Russia still wants the United Kingdom and France to join the nuclear disarmament process, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday during the online seminar on the prospects for arms control after the US elections.
"After the New START extension, we could also discuss how to possibly involve new participants into arms control agreements," he said. "At the same time Russia considers unjustified any attempts to put international pressure on countries in order to force them to participate in an arms control regime. Consultations and negotiations of this kind must be conducted on a free and voluntary basis with due regard for the legitimate interests of the parties."
"The Russian position on this issue is well known. We give priority to including France and the UK in the dialogue. These countries possess nuclear arsenals comparable to the Chinese one. They also closely coordinate their nuclear policies with Washington within NATO," he stressed.
The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) was signed in 2010 and entered into force on February 5, 2011. 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.
The New START Treaty will remain in force for 10 years, until 2021, unless it is replaced before that date by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. It can also be extended for no longer than 5 years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay prolongation of the treaty it describes as the gold standards in the area of disarmament.
On October 16, 2020, the Russian president came out with an initiative to extend the treaty unconditionally for at least one year. He said this time could be used to hold meaningful talks. The Russian foreign ministry said that in case the New START was extended, the Russian side was ready to freeze its nuclear arsenals, together with the US side, for that period if the US advanced no extra conditions.