UNITED STATES—On Friday, October 16, the United States and Russia rejected proposals to salvage legal constraint on nuclear weaponry. Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an extension of the New START treaty, which the White House called a “non-starter.”
New START, also known as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, is the one bilateral treaty standing between the U.S. and Russia. It took effect in 2011 to limit the use of nuclear warheads, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and other weapons. It is set to expire in early 2021.
President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said: “The United States is serious about arms control that will keep the entire world safe. We hope that Russia will reevaluate its position before a costly arms race ensues.”
He also added that “it may be that, like other countries, the Russians are waiting to see what happens” in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
President Trump previously said that though he favors nuclear arms control, New START is flawed and unfavorable to the U.S. In 2019, he withdrew the U.S. from a different nuclear arms treaty with Russia.
Democrat Joe Biden, who was vice president when New START was negotiated during the Obama administration, said that he would agree to Putin’s proposal of a five-year extension of New START. Then, that would be followed by negotiation.
“All those years, the New START has worked, playing its fundamental role of limiting and containing an arms race,” said Putin, who wants it extended for at least one more year.