The United States has rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to extend the strategic arms reduction Treaty (Start-3) without any conditions for a year, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said.
On Friday, the Russian leader said that extending the agreement without preconditions would make it possible to hold meaningful talks on issues that are regulated by Start-3. According to him, such a decision will also make it possible not to leave countries interested in maintaining strategic stability without such a Treaty.
“President Putin’s proposal today to extend Start-3 without freezing nuclear warheads is not an option,” O’Brien wrote on Twitter.
The White House also said that it had already offered Russia to extend the Treaty for a year, subject to nuclear arsenals’ mutual freezing. According to O’Brien, this would be “a victory for both sides.”
“We thought that when I met with my colleague in Geneva, the Russians were ready to accept that offer,” the recording says.
O’Brien added that the United States “takes arms control seriously” and hopes Moscow will reconsider its position on this issue before “a costly arms race ensues.”
In October, the US President’s special envoy for arms control, Marshall Billingslea, said that Washington is ready “tomorrow” to extend Start-3 in exchange for a mutual freeze of nuclear arsenals and allegedly reached an “agreement in principle” with Moscow in this regard. At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that if Washington wants to mention tactical nuclear weapons in the Treaty with Moscow, it must first take these missiles from the territories of NATO countries.
Start-3 remains the only agreement of this kind in force between Russia and the United States. It expires after February 5, 2021. Sergey Lavrov has repeatedly stressed that Moscow is in favor of extending the agreement without preconditions. In turn, the US administration insists on the need to include China in the negotiations, although this idea is rejected in Beijing.
According to the new Treaty, each side must reduce its nuclear arsenals. In seven years and beyond, the total number of weapons will not exceed 700 Intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers, as well as 1,550 warheads and 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers. The agreement obliges Moscow and Washington to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.