Russia accepts the U.S. proposal to freeze nuclear arsenals mutually for the sake of extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for another year, said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement.
"Russia proposes to extend the New START for one year and at the same time is ready to make a political commitment together with the United States to "freeze" for this period the number of nuclear warheads available to the parties. This position can be implemented strictly and exclusively on the understanding that the "freeze" of warheads will not be accompanied by any additional requirements from the United States," said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Foreign Ministry stressed that Russia has not received a response to Vladimir Putin's proposal to extend the agreement for a year without any additional conditions. "We have seen only individual comments of American officials on social networks," the Ministry noted.
The time that can be won by extending the New START treaty for another year can be used to conduct bilateral negotiations on a future system of control over nuclear and missile weapons.
The New START treaty was concluded between Russia and the United States in 2010 and came into force in 2011. Under the agreement, Moscow and Washington must reduce the number of nuclear warheads on delivery vehicles to 1,550 each, and the number of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as submarine-launched ballistic missiles and missiles on heavy bombers, to 700.
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the conditions put forward by the United States during negotiations on the extension of the New START "unrealistic" . Among these conditions, in particular, the U.S. demanded that China join the treaty.
On October 13, it became known about Washington's new proposal to extend the treaty. It was first publicly voiced by the US President's Special Representative for Arms Control, Marshall Billingslea. "We are ready to extend New START for some time with the condition that they (Russia) will agree to limit or freeze their nuclear arsenal. We are ready to do the same," he said, calling the proposal gentlemanly. He added that Washington has reached a "principled" agreement with Moscow and is ready for a deal "tomorrow."
However, on October 16, in response to this proposal, President Vladimir Putin proposed to the United States to extend the treaty for a year without any preconditions, including without freezing arsenals. Robert O'Brien, an aide to the US president, called it a "failure." "The United States has proposed extending the new START treaty for one year in exchange for Russia and the United States to limit their nuclear arsenals during this period. This would be a victory for both sides, and we believed that the Russians were ready to accept this offer when I met with my colleague in Geneva. President Putin's today's response to extending the new START treaty without freezing the nuclear arsenal is a failure," he said.