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US creates time pressure in New START issue, names unacceptable terms — ambassador

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier described the New START extension as "the issue of primary importance that should and must be promptly dealt with"
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov Alexandr Sherbak/TASS
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
© Alexandr Sherbak/TASS

WASHINGTON, September 30. /TASS/. The United States, which practically created the time pressure situation in talks on extending the New START treaty, is now putting forward obviously unacceptable preconditions for Russia, Russia’s US Ambassador Anatoly Antonov told TASS on Tuesday, when asked to comment on a recent Politico article.

The Politico article looked into the possibility of increasing the number of deployed US nuclear warheads if the New START treaty with Russia is not extended. Therefore, Washington made an attempt to put pressure on Moscow and force it to accept the US terms for extending the bilateral agreement.

"We took note of Politico’s article published on September 28. The article, which cites unnamed sources, claims that the [US] administration is looking into scenarios of fitting strategic carriers with additional nuclear warheads now in storage in case the New START is not extended," the diplomat said.

In his words, "<...> the embassy does not comment on rumors and leaks of various sorts, not backed by official statements."

"At the same time, we note that it was the [US] administration’s inaction, which, in fact, created the time pressure situation in the issue of extending the New START, despite our numerous calls and proposals to extend the agreement, voiced by the Russian side in the past years," the Russian diplomat said.

In that regard, he recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin described the New START extension as "the issue of primary importance that should and must be promptly dealt with" in his recent video address to the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

"However, Washington decided to ‘wake up’ only in the run-up to the [November 3] presidential election," the ambassador said. "At the same time, the possibility of extending the treaty is conditioned by requirements which are obviously unacceptable for Russia and do not take into account our concerns in the strategic stability domain."

According to the ambassador, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov "pointed out the unfeasibility of Washington’s demands" back on August 23. Speaking at a nationwide youth forum, Territory of Senses, Russia’s top diplomat said: "It will be a big mistake is our American colleagues decide to ruin the last document."

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 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) by the parties’ mutual consent.

Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay prolongation of the treaty it describes as the gold standard in the area of disarmament.

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.".