Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for at least one year without any preconditions. He voiced this proposal during the Russian Security Council meeting Friday.
"I have a proposal to extend the existing treaty without preconditions for one year, at least," the Russian leader said. "So that we could hold substantial talks on all parameters of the issues, regulated by treaties of this kind, so that we do not leave both our countries and all states of the world without such fundamental agreement as the New START," Putin underscored, addressing Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, TASS reports.
The minister reminded that the treaty expires on February 4, 2021. In response, Putin noted that "we face a full threat of find ourselves and leave basically the entire world without this treaty at all."
"It would be extremely tragic, if the treaty ceases to exist, without being replaced with another fundamental document of this kind," the president said.
"For all these years, the New START worked, worked perfectly, performed its fundamental role of a limiter, curbing the arms race," the Russian leader noted.
"It is clear that we have new weapon systems, which the American side has not, at least not right now. But we do not refuse to discuss this side of the issue, too," the head of state said.
"In this regard, please, convey our position to the American partners and try to obtain at least some comprehensible response from them," Putin told Lavrov, voicing his proposal to extend the New START without preconditions. Lavrov vowed to do everything necessary "as soon as possible."
The New START situation
During the meeting, Lavrov informed the Security Council that the Foreign Ministry stays in rather intensive contact with the American colleagues on the entire spectrum of strategic stability issues, which includes underscoring Russia’s initiative to extend the current treaty for five years without preconditions.
"We confirm, we will be ready to continue working on new agreements; we have introduced, with your approval, specific propositions on the development of complex approach to strategic stability, which were handed over to the US side," Lavrov informed. "In response, the United States handed us their own propositions, formulated as conditions, preconditions for the extension of the New START; these preconditions, being rather numerous, have been formulated outside of both the treaty itself and outside of our competence."
Therefore, according to his estimation, "a critical situation has emerged," since the treaty expires in February next year.
"Unless both sides agree on its extension, as provided for by the procedures, the treaty will expire. That means, effectively, the work has not begun on extensions of the treaty without conditions, not included in the treaty itself," the Minister noted, adding that the world risks finding itself without any other instrument that would provide at least some joint approaches to maintenance of the strategic stability.
"Everything else is either already destroyed or proposed for dismantling by the Americans," Lavrov stated.