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US position on New START Treaty prolongation still unclear for Moscow — top diplomat

The diplomat mentioned the discussion on the fate of the treaty by Russian and US presidents in Osaka

HIGH TATRAS /Slovakia/, July 9. /TASS/. Russia still cannot fully understand the US position on the prolongation of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at an informal meeting of top diplomats of OSCE member states on Tuesday.

The US development of the missile shield after Washington quit the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty is among the breaches that are affecting common security, the Russian foreign minister stressed.

"Now the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is dying away. Moreover, in our estimates, Washington is seriously thinking about recalling its signature from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty," Russia’s top diplomat pointed out. "I hope that these are only rumors but they are quite persistent."

"No doubt, President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin and [US] President [Donald] Trump recently discussed the fate of the New START Treaty in Osaka," Lavrov said.

"So far, it is not yet clear for us how the United States plans to make up its mind: now it recognizes that the treaty is needed because otherwise we will lose all the problem regulation tools in the sphere of strategic stability, then it says that this treaty has to be prolonged only if China joins it," the Russian foreign minister said.

About the New START Treaty

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 coming 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 obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The New START Treaty will remain in force for 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (i.e. until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent.

Moscow has repeatedly appealed to Washington not to delay the issue of the Treaty's prolongation.