The Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) between Russia and the United States will still have to be dismantled and changed for another similar treaty due to military breakthroughs in nuclear powers even if its extension can be secured now, Russian senator Viktor Bondarev said in an interview with TASS.
"New START remains in force until February 5, 2021 if it’s not substituted by another agreement. It can be extended until 2026 at the most under mutual agreement. In any case, it will have to be annulled with time and changed for a more updated document that is similar in contents, will reflect changes in geopolitical realities and will take into account the breakthroughs in the military and technical equipment of certain third parties. I mean hypothetical involvement of China and other nuclear club members in the new treaty," Bondarev underlined.
At the same time, the senator stressed that it is vital now to realize the proposal of Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend New START by a year without preconditions to have the opportunity to work out all the parameters of the agreement that will substitute the current one in the future. Bondarev does not rule out that Washington could agree with Moscow in the end.
"Despite the blatantly negative treatment of Russia by American authorities, I would not rule out a possible agreement. Americans are barely guided by emotions, they are all about their profit, while the profit of temporary extending the New START is clear to everyone and does not run counter to national interests of any countries. At the same time, Americans can stage a so-called demarche just because, to uphold their global image. They can continue to manipulate this document now as they did with the INF Treaty," he added.
"However, we need to understand that even if Americans listen to the voice of reason and agree to extend New START by one year or even longer, it will still have to be changed. The horizon of its effect can be clearly seen, because the treaty is bilateral, it limits nuclear arsenals of only Russia and the US. We cannot but take into account the changes that took place in the technical equipment of other nuclear power holders, including NATO members among them," Bondarev explained.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington to speed up the decision on whether to extend New START, characterizing this fundamental treaty as gold standard in arms control. On October 16, Putin proposed extending the treaty by at least one year without any preconditions.
US President Donald Trump’s administration earlier suggested expanding the treaty to include China. However, Beijing rejected this idea. Meanwhile, Biden openly supported extending New START when campaigning.