The Kremlin has responded positively to the US plan to renew the New START nuclear weapons treaty. It emphasized that it wanted to see a more detailed proposal.
On Thursday, the White House announced that President Joe Biden wants to extend the Strategic Nuclear Weapons Reduction Treaty for five years. The 2010 agreement expires next month. It is the last major treaty between the superpowers on arms control.
It means that Russia and the United States can each have a maximum of 1550 operational warheads.
The United States and Russia together own the vast majority of the world’s nuclear weapons. Without an extension, there are fears of an arms race and growing tension between Moscow and Washington. The previous US government wanted China to participate in such a nuclear weapons treaty, but Beijing was not favoured.
The White House said extending the treaty makes sense precisely because relations with Russia are under pressure.
Biden’s government has announced investigations into the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, possible Russian involvement in the significant SolarWinds hack, and reports that Russia paid extremists’ money as a reward for killing US troops in Afghanistan.
“While we work with Russia to advance US interests, we also hold Russia accountable for its reckless and hostile actions,” said a White House spokeswoman.