Russia’s President Vladimir Putin offered on 5 December to immediately extend the New Start treaty, which is the only remaining nuclear arms reduction deal with the United States.
“Russia is ready to extend the New Start treaty immediately, before the year’s end and without any preconditions”, Putin said, and added: “Our proposals have been on the table, but we have got no response from our partners”.
The treaty limits the number of each country’s deployed nuclear warheads to 1550, and the number of deployed missiles and bombers to 700. It was signed in 2010 and expires in 2021.
However, a senior US official said Washington is not interested in an immediate extension:
“If the United States were to agree to extend the treaty now, I think it would make it less likely that we would have the ability to persuade Russia and China to enter negotiations on a broader agreement”, said John Rood, the US undersecretary of defense for policy.
Earlier this year, both US and Russia withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, after the US accused Russia of violations, which Moscow has denied.