World Media

Putin Proposes Extending Nuclear Arms Deal With US for 1 Year

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via video conference in Moscow Russia Friday Oct. 16 2020

The United States on Friday rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin's call to prolong the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty for one year unconditionally, describing the notion as a "non-starter".

Incidentally, a potential arms race was what Putin was warning against as he extended his offer to the US.

"The United States made every effort".

"The US position in favour of freezing has always been known to us, it is unacceptable to us". The proposal to renew the New START, which will expire in February 2021, was nearly immediately shot down by the US.

A failure to extend the pact would remove all constraints on United States and Russian deployments of strategic nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, fuelling a post-Cold War arms race and tensions between Moscow and Washington.

He said while the USA wants a cap on all US weapons in exchange for a New START extension, it remains an open question what it is willing to give the Russians in return.

The arms control effort is hampered in part by deteriorating trust between Washington and Moscow.

"We are, in fact, willing to extend the New START treaty for some period of time, provided that they [Russia], in return, agree to a limitation - a freeze - on their nuclear arsenal", Billingslea said, calling Moscow a "serial treaty violator". The Defense Intelligence Agency past year projected that Russia's overall stockpile of nuclear weapons would "grow significantly" over the next decade, driven by an increase in shorter-range, or nonstrategic, weapons that are not governed by the New START treaty.

White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien speaks during a briefing in Doral Florida
White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien speaks during a briefing in Doral Florida

"The United States is serious about arms control that will keep the entire world safe".

"I have a proposal - which is to extend the current agreement without any preconditions at least for one year to have an opportunity to conduct substantial negotiations", Mr. Putin said during a meeting of Russia's security council, according to a Kremlin statement.

"The United States proposed an extension of New START for one year, in exchange for Russian Federation and the United States capping all nuclear warheads during that period".

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested extending the New START treaty without any preconditions, noting that a world without any accord regulating arms would represent a full-blown threat.

Just a few hours later, O'Brien issued a written statement regretting Moscow's position and touting the US approach, which he said "would have been a win for both sides". "We're hopeful that we'll have some progress there, but it may be that like other countries, the Russians are waiting to see what happens".

Moscow opposes a proposal by Washington for a new framework that would cover tactical nuclear weapons in addition to strategic warheads.

We thought we made a really fair, terrific proposal that would have given the parties another year or so to negotiate an overall big deal, and well see if the Russians take it or not, O'Brien said.