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Kremlin concerned over US attempts to reject New START Treaty extension

US President Trump announced on October 20 that his country would quit the INF Treaty

MOSCOW, November 29. /TASS/. US lawmakers attempting to legislatively reject the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START Treaty) extension raises concerns, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

According to him, the Kremlin has read media reports about the bill of representatives of the Republican Party, but have not yet read the text. "Of course, before the beginning of a substantive discussion between Russia and the United States of the disarmament issues, an attempt to legally codify the refusal, of course, raises concerns," Peskov said.

Peskov did not agree with the statements of the United States that Russia allegedly chose a strategy of "escalation for the sake of de-escalation." "We do not understand this assessment, and we do not agree with it," Peskov noted.

Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov said earlier that Washington’s evasive position on the extension of the Treaty on Measures for the new START Treaty, which expires in 2021, causes Moscow’s concern. "Washington’s evasive position on the extension of the New START Treaty expiring in 2021 causes concern," the Kremlin aide said.

The Kremlin is also seriously concerned over the intention announced by US President Donald Trump on October 20 to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Ushakov said.

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

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement.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.

US President Trump announced on October 20 that his country would quit the INF Treaty because Russia was allegedly in breach of that agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov described this as a dangerous move. Washington was also criticized in Berlin and Beijing. In the meantime, London came out in support of the United States and NATO placed the responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia, because in its opinion Moscow had apparently violated the treaty.

The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. It outlawed deployed and non-deployed intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-based missiles.

In recent years, Washington has repeatedly alleged Russia was in breach of the agreement. Moscow emphatically dismissed the charges and countered them with its own claims over the United States’ non-compliance.