The new US administration believes that differences and contradictions in US-Russian relations are not a reason to disrupt the extension of the bilateral nuclear arms reduction treaty New START, US President Joe Biden said.
"I find that we can both operate in the mutual self-interest of our countries as a New START agreement, and make it clear to Russia that we [the US authorities - TASS] are — we are very concerned about their behavior, whether it’s [Alexey] Navalny, whether it’s [cyber attack through software of] the SolarWinds, or whether it’s the reports of bounties on the heads of Americans in Afghanistan," the US president said.
Biden answered questions at a news conference whether the situation with Navalny could potentially derail the extension of New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which is expiring in February.
The president recalled that the US intelligence agencies had been tasked with preparing a new evaluation regarding Russia. "I have asked the agencies in question to do a thorough — a thorough read for me on every one of those issues, to update me on precisely where they are. And I will not hesitate to raise those issues with the Russians," Biden said.
Earlier, Russia refuted on numerous occasions at the highest level the claims on offering bounties to the militants in Afghanistan for attacks on the US-led coalition forces and on Moscow’s alleged cyber attack through the software of SolarWinds.
The New START Treaty, which was signed by Moscow and Washington in 2010, stipulates that seven years after it goes into effect, each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers.
The document is set to remain in effect until February 5, 2021, unless it is replaced with another agreement on nuclear arms reduction. It can also be extended for no more than five years (until 2026) with the consent of both parties. Moscow calls on Washington not to delay solving the issue on a possible extension of the treaty, which it has described as "a golden standard" in disarmament.