MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. The United States’ plans to advance more conditions for the extension of the New START Treaty indicate Washington’s unwillingness to regulate the issue of arms reduction, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Sunday.
"What is alarming is the categoricalness of certain approaches - ‘either as we say or nothing.’ It can hardly be called the shortest way to the desired result, if the Americans really want to reach any sustainable and mutually acceptable agreements," Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international committee of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house, told journalists.
He said that this was a very serious matter that was to be tackled by experts taking part in corresponding consultations. "But it is alarming that some of the problems in question are being conveyed via the press, which may indicate an attempt to exert extra pressure on the other side," he noted.
US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said in an interview with the Kommersant daily that Washington may put forth more conditions for the extension of the New START Treaty if Russia doesn’t accept its proposals before the presidential polls in the United States.
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 standards 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."
According to Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov, Washington insists a political agreement be reached on a future legally binding treaty on arms control, which means all nuclear warheads, including non-strategic, be frozen at the current level and an utterly strict verification regime be established. Apart from that, Washington wants China to join talks in this sphere.
Moscow insists on the extension of the New START Treaty without preliminary conditions.