White House Rejects Putin’s Offer to Extend New START

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MOSCOW/WASHINGTON, D.C. – Russia possesses new weapons that the United States does not have in its arsenal, but it is nevertheless willing to discuss the issue with Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday while addressing permanent members of the Russian Security Council.

The president also suggested extending the New START Treaty for one year without any preconditions and to discuss all arms control parameters during that year, RIA Novosti reported. Russian president stated that the final remaining arms treaty between the US and Russia has served its purpose without fail, noting that dismantling it without reaching an alternative deal would be deplorable.

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Putin also asked Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to formulate Russia’s position on the treaty, present it to the United States, and attempt to receive a clear response from them quickly. Lavrov promised that he would do so “as soon as possible”. The Russian Foreign Ministry previously stated that two out of five new types of weapons could be covered by the New START, without specifying what kind of arms would be included in the treaty.

The New START, signed in 2010, is the only currently valid Russian-US arms reduction deal. The treaty expires in February 2021. Still, The U.S. immediately rejected the proposals for potentially salvaging the last remaining legal constraint on strategic nuclear weapons. President Vladimir Putin called for an unconditional extension of the soon-to-expire New START treaty, and the White House called that a “non-starter.”

Adding an edginess to the diplomatic clash, US administration’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, suggested the Russians “rethink their stance before a costly arms race ensues.” Administration officials have previously alluded to building up nuclear forces if the treaty is abandoned, although the Pentagon has its hands full paying for a one-for-one replacement of older nuclear weapons, unlike Russia’s with its new weapons.

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