WASHINGTON, March 10. /TASS/. The US wants the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) to cover the range of new Russian systems currently under development, including the nuclear-powered, underwater, nuclear-armed drone Poseidon, a senior US State Department official informed during a briefing on Monday.
"So we need to make sure that it covers not only what is currently covered by New START, but the range of new Russian systems that are being developed that are not and would not be New START accountable. Some of these sort of slightly exotic new systems such as the nuclear-powered, underwater, nuclear-armed drone called Poseidon; the nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile, air-launched ballistic missile and that sort of thing," the official said.
"So these are systems that are not currently covered by New START. We hope very much to bring them within the framework of arms control, just as we hope to find an answer to systems that are currently controlled by New START, and as we hope to find an answer to the challenge presented by Russia’s large and increasingly diverse range of non-strategic systems, of which they have something on the order of up to 2,000 or so today, and they are on track to increase the size of that non-strategic arsenal as well," the US diplomat noted.
"We are in the process of evaluating the possibility of extending New START, taking into account the range of threats that we face today, the changing security environment, and that sort of thing," the US State Department employee noted.
"President Trump has made very clear that it is important that arms control answer the threat of - the range of threats that the current world presents, and that this arms control - next-generation arms control, the future of arms control, if you will, go beyond just the traditional bilateral context that we all became used to during the Cold War, and that it cover not only more parties than before, specifically bringing in China as well as Russia, but also that it cover more systems than is currently covered by - than are currently covered by New START."
About New START
The Russian-US New START treaty took effect in 2011. Under its terms, either party shall reduce its strategic offensive arms in such a way that by the end of a seven-year period following the moment the treaty takes effect, it should have no more than 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched missiles and heavy bombers, 1,550 warheads for them and 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM and SLBM (submarine launched ballistic missiles) launchers and heavy bombers.
The treaty shall stay in effect for ten years (up to 2021) unless it is replaced by another agreement by that moment, or it can be prolonged for no more than five years (until 2026) by mutual consent. Lately, Moscow repeatedly urged Washington to avoid delays in prolonging that treaty, which it described as a gold standard in the field of disarmament.
On November 4, US President Donald Trump said in response to a question by TASS that the US would like to sign a new agreement in the sphere of arms control with Russia, China and possibly several other countries. He did not specify whether the US plans to prolong New START.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Financial Times newspaper that if New START ceases to exist, there will be nothing stopping the next arms race.