MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. Russia hopes for further contacts with the United States over strategic offensive weapons even though the American side has turned down the proposal for prolonging the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Monday.
"We hope that contacts with the American side will continue in any case," Peskov said. "In general, as President Vladimir Putin has said, the treaty’s extension would let us gain time, twelve months, for substantive and serious negotiations on arms control, because stripping our two countries and the whole world of this document - currently it is a crucial cornerstone in the groundwork of world stability and strategic security - would entail very harmful consequences," Peskov said.
"Of course, we would like to hear that our American partners are prepared to extend this document," he added.
Peskov stated that "regrettably for the time being no desirable progress is in sight" in contacts with the US over the New START.
"But that does not mean that all contacts have to be stopped," he said with certainty. Peskov stressed that the Kremlin had in mind not US President Donald Trump personally, but the American side. "We know that it was the American side that refused to extend this document by one year," Peskov stressed.
On October 16, President Vladimir Putin suggested extending the New START at least for one year without any preconditions. He believes that the extra time might be used for conducting meaningful negotiations. The United States rejected this proposal.
The treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) 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 remains 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 restrict the arms race.