Russia Accepts U.S. Offer on Extending New START Arms Reduction Treaty
Oct. 20, 2020 (EIRNS)—The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement this morning clarifying Moscow’s position on extending the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which President Vladimir Putin had made on Oct. 16. According to the statement, Russia offers to extend New START for one year and is ready to join a “freeze” with the U.S. on the total number of nuclear warheads that each side possesses.
“This position of ours may be implemented only and exclusively on the premise that ‘freezing’ of warheads will not be accompanied by any additional demands on the part of the United States,” the statement said. “Were this approach acceptable for Washington, then the time gained by the extension of the New START Treaty could be used to conduct comprehensive bilateral negotiations on the future nuclear and missile arms control that must address all factors affecting strategic stability.”
“We appreciate the Russian Federation’s willingness to make progress on the issue of nuclear arms control,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement in response. “The United States is prepared to meet immediately to finalize a verifiable agreement. We expect Russia to empower its diplomats to do the same.”
An unnamed Trump Administration official told the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. and Russia are on the verge of an arms control deal. “Now that the Russians have agreed to a warhead freeze, I do not see why we cannot work out the remaining issues in the coming days,” he said. Verification of the freeze could prove to be a tricky matter, however. “A freeze on all warheads has never been done before,” Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association, told the Journal. “Defining and verifying such a freeze is far from a simple matter.”