Russia receptive to Biden proposal to extend nuclear treaty
Russia on Friday signaled it would welcome President Biden’s plans to extend the New START nuclear arms treaty between the two countries.
According to The Associated Press, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Russia supports extending the pact, which is currently set to expire in February.
“We can only welcome political will to extend the document,” Peskov told reporters in a call. “But all will depend on the details of the proposal.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed in a press briefing Thursday that Biden intended to seek a five-year extension to New START, which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads the U.S. and Russia can each have at 1,550 and also puts limits on weapons that can fire warheads.
Psaki added that the extension of the treaty, which represents the only remaining major arms pact between the U.S. and Russia, was necessary, “when the relationship with Russia is adversarial as it is at this time.”
Former President Trump’s administration had stalled talks on the extension of the arms treaty, initially seeking to replace it with a new treaty that included China. Meanwhile, Russia has sought to extend the original pact without any revisions.
Peskov said Friday, “Certain conditions for the extension have been put forward, and some of them have been absolutely unacceptable for us, so let’s see first what the U.S. is offering,” the AP reported.
The AP also noted that the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement that Russian diplomats are prepared to participate in discussions with the U.S. to formalize the treaty’s extension “without any delay.”
Biden throughout his presidential campaign signaled his intent to preserve the New START treaty, which was signed in 2010 by former President Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Psaki said Thursday that Biden would, in addition to extending the arms treaty, also seek an assessment from the U.S. intelligence community on the SolarWinds hack, which officials blamed on Moscow, as well as Russian interference in the 2020 election, Russian involvement in the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and alleged Russian bounties on U.S. service members in Afghanistan.
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