The prospects for extending the most recent treaty that limits the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons of the United States and Russia looked discouraging this Friday (16), after the US government rejected a Russian proposal for unconditional renewal one year for considering it “unfeasible”.
The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start, which was signed in 2010 and expires in February, restricts the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the two countries can deploy, as well as missiles and bombers that carry them.
Failure to renew the pact would lift all restrictions, which could give rise to a post-Cold War arms race and increase tensions between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.
Speaking by videoconference at a meeting of the Russian Security Council that was broadcast on state television, President Vladimir Putin said the treaty had worked effectively so far and that it would be “extremely sad” if it stopped working.
“In this regard, I propose to extend the current treaty without any conditions for at least a year so that meaningful negotiations on all parameters of the problems can be conducted,” he said.
Hours later, however, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien rejected Putin’s offer.
He reiterated that the United States had proposed to extend the agreement for one year, during which the mobilizations of all nuclear weapons – strategic and tactical – would be suspended.
“President Putin’s response today to extend the new Start without freezing all nuclear warheads is useless,” O’Brien said in a statement.
“We hope that Russia will reevaluate its position before there is a costly arms race.”
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