US proposes 5-year extension of nuclear arms treaty with Russia
The current treaty limiting US and Russian nuclear arsenals expires on February 5
The administration of President Joe Biden is ready to extend the treaty with Russia on the reduction of strategic offensive arms (START-3) for five years. This was announced on Thursday by White House spokesman Jen Psaki, confirming earlier reports in the media..
The decision must be made promptly, since the treaty, which limits the strategic nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States, expires on February 5..
«The United States intends to seek an extension of the START III treaty for another five years», – Jen Psaki told reporters, the agency reports «Agence France-Presse».
«The president has long made it clear that the new START treaty is in the national security interests of the United States. And this extension makes even more sense at a time when confrontation is developing in relations with Russia, as at the present time.», – said psaki.
The spokeswoman added that Biden had instructed the American intelligence community to conduct a full assessment of the SolarWinds cyberattack, possible Russian interference in the 2020 elections, Moscow’s use of chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the alleged reward stories Moscow officials reportedly offered. by militants for the murder of American soldiers in Afghanistan.
«Even if we are working with Russia to protect American interests, we are also working to make Russia accountable for its reckless and hostile actions.», – emphasized Jen Psaki.
Ending the treaty would end all restrictions on the deployment of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, potentially triggering a new arms race..
Earlier, a source familiar with the situation told the agency «Reuters», that US lawmakers were informed of Biden’s decision to extend START III.
The Pentagon has welcomed the new administration’s decision to extend START III. In a statement, John Kirby, the chief spokesman for the US Department of Defense, said that the extension of START III «helps to strengthen the country’s defense», and Moscow’s compliance with the terms of the agreement «serves the interests of our national security».
«We cannot afford to lose a tool with which we can inspect compliance with the terms of the agreement.», – Kirby said, stressing the importance of how quickly the decision to extend the treaty was made, as otherwise the United States would be deprived of the last opportunity to verify the status of Russian long-range nuclear forces.
Extension of the contract until 2026 «gives both countries time and space to explore new testable arms control mechanisms that could further reduce the risks to Americans. The Department of Defense stands ready to support our colleagues at the State Department as they expand and explore these new agreements.», – Pentagon spokesman said.
«While we work with Russia to advance American interests, we at the Department of Defense are clearly aware of the danger that Russia poses and are ready to defend the country from reckless and hostile actions (from the Russian side)», – added a spokesman for the US Department of Defense.
Democrat Bob Menendez, the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement Thursday approving «the Biden administration’s rapid progress towards a five-year extension of START».
«This is an excellent first step on the Biden administration’s path to regaining arms control.», – Menendez said, recalling the need to establish control over non-strategic nuclear weapons, including the weapons that China possesses.
Joe Biden’s administration, according to Senator Menendez, «must confront a revanchist Russia that continues to threaten the United States and our allies». Senate Foreign Relations Committee Head Expects New Administration «strong response to the recent cyberattack on SolarWinds, Kremlin attacks on our electoral process, and brutal attempts to suppress and assassinate opposition leaders», – Menendez said in a statement.
Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein released an official statement Thursday, commenting on the Biden administration’s decision to extend START..
«I am delighted to see President Biden pushing for a five-year extension of START III, the last remaining bilateral nuclear arms control treaty with Russia. Renewal of START is essential to prevent a dangerous and costly nuclear arms race between us and Russia, and I applaud President Biden for taking immediate action on this pressing issue.», – Feinstein said in a statement.
The senator added that extending the treaty for such a long period would allow the United States to negotiate additional agreements on nuclear weapons and ballistic missile control with Russia..
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Russia remains committed to extending the START III treaty and will welcome the Biden administration’s announced steps to reach an agreement.