At a meeting of the Russian Security Council, President Vladimir Putin discussed with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov an agreement on measures to further reduce and limit strategic offensive arms (START-3), the Kremlin press service reported. The agreement was concluded between Russia and the United States and will expire on February 4 next year.
Putin said that if the treaty were terminated and not replaced by another, "it would be extremely sad." "In this regard, I have a proposal, namely, to extend the current Treaty without any conditions for at least a year," the president added. "All previous years, the START-3 Treaty worked, worked properly, fulfilled its fundamental role of limiting, curbing the arms race, arms control. It is clear that we have new weapons systems, which the American side does not have, at least for now. But we do not refuse to discuss this side of the issue. "
He asked Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to formulate the Russian position to the American partners and try to get from them "at least some intelligible answer."
In turn, the head of the foreign policy department noted that the American proposals for the treaty "were presented as numerous conditions formulated, including outside the competence of the Russian authorities." "As a matter of fact, work on the direct extension of the Treaty without conditions that are not contained in it has practically not begun yet," Lavrov said.
Earlier, the US offered Russia a "gentlemanly" freeze or limitation of nuclear arsenals, stating that it was ready to do the same. According to the special envoy of the US President Marshall Billingsley, Washington has already reached an "principled" agreement with Moscow and is ready to extend the START-3 treaty on these terms "even tomorrow," RBC reports.
The Kremlin replied to this that there are no "concrete" agreements with the United States on the reduction of nuclear weapons, since the negotiations are still ongoing.
In turn, the newspaper The New York Times reported that the US presidential candidate from the Democratic Party, Joe Biden, is ready to immediately extend START-3 if he wins the November elections. In theory, this can be done at the end of January, immediately after the inauguration.
START-3 is valid from February 2011 to February 2021 and, by agreement of the countries, can be extended for another five years. Under the terms of the treaty, each side must reduce the number of deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550, and the number of ICBMs and missiles on submarines and heavy bombers to 700. In addition, START III provides for mutual inspections and data exchange.