Russia and U.S. to extend New START on Moscow’s conditions
Russia and the U.S. have agreed to extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) without pre-conditions, as Moscow insisted, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists on Wednesday.
"On our conditions," he said in response to a corresponding question by TASS. "For five years without pre-conditions, without any additions, without any appendices whatsoever," he added.
"Generally speaking, this is a mutually beneficial decision. This is the only right decision possible. Now we have enough time to launch and hold in-depth bilateral negotiations on the whole range of issues related to strategic stability, and to ensure reliable security for our country for a long period of time", Ryabkov told reporters.
According to Ryabkov, Moscow and Washington have been engaged in talks on extending the New START over the past few days. "Yesterday, [U.S.] Ambassador [John] Sullivan and I exchanged notes fixating the agreement on a five-year extension", the Russian diplomat recalled.
Earlier this week, the White House said that during a phone call President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed the willingness to extend New START for five years and agreed to have their teams work to complete the extension by the 5 February deadline.
New START has been in force since 2011 and is due to expire on 5 February. It is the only remaining legally binding agreement on nuclear arms control between Russia and the United States.
The treaty limits each country's nuclear arsenal to 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 1,550 nuclear warheads, and 800 launchers.