Putin says he's ready to start talks with US on arms control

Putin says he's ready to start talks with US on arms control
© Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRepublican lawmakers warn against more military coordination with Russia NATO expansion in Ukraine a 'red line' for Putin, Kremlin says Milley calls for expanded communication between US, Russian militaries MORE said he’s ready to restart arms control negotiations with the U.S. after both Washington and Moscow announced their withdrawal from a landmark nuclear missile treaty. 

Putin said Thursday he did not believe there would be a new arms race after pulling out of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and that there had “recently been signs that Washington is beginning to consider resuming bilateral dialogue on a wide-ranging strategic agenda.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

“I think that the achievement of concrete agreements in the field of arms control would contribute to strengthening international stability. Russia has the political will to work towards this. Now it’s up to the U.S.,” Putin said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Putin added that he had discussed the matter with President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE when they met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan last week.

Trump first announced in October that the U.S. would withdraw, saying Russia had violated the treaty by building a new missile system from the arms control pact. Russia responded in February by declaring that it too would pull out of the agreement.

The pact bans nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles. The original ban between Moscow and Washington resulted in 2,692 missiles being destroyed.

Besides the INF, Putin said the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is under threat, putting the onus on the U.S. to open up to negotiations. 

“How we should go forward together to reduce strategic armaments remains unclear. In early 2021 the New START treaty (on intercontinental missiles) expires. However, we are not currently seeing any U.S. willingness to discuss its extension or to draft a completely new agreement,” he said.

Putin dismissed speculation about an arms race, noting that Russia spends $48 billion on defense compared to the U.S. military budget of over $700 billion, but said Russia would not shy from a confrontation.

“We have no intention of getting involved in such a race, but we also have an obligation to ensure our security,” he said.