MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia welcomes the decision of US President Joe Biden’s administration to extend the New START deal for five years, this is the right thing to do, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.
“Generally speaking, this is a mutually beneficial decision. This is the only right decision possible. Now we have enough time to launch and hold in-depth bilateral negotiations on the whole range of issues related to strategic stability, and to ensure reliable security for our country for a long period of time”, Ryabkov told reporters.
The deputy foreign minister noted that deal was agreed on Moscow’s conditions.
“On our conditions: for five years, with no preliminary conditions, with no annex and no appendix”, Ryabkov told reporters.
According to Ryabkov, Moscow and Washington have been engaged in talks on extending the New START over the past few days.
“Yesterday, [US] Ambassador [John] Sullivan and I exchanged notes fixating the agreement on a five-year extension”, the Russian diplomat recalled.
Russia No Longer Proposes to Freeze Nuclear Warheads for 1 Year
Russia’s proposal to freeze nuclear warheads for a year was meant for the previous US administration, which did not want to extend the New START as is, Ryabkov said on Wednesday.
“The idea of a freeze was a package deal with the idea to agree with the US proposal to extend for one year”, Ryabkov said, adding that Russia was “looking for a solution and showing reasonable flexibility”.
“We may now say that those proposals are voided. There is no reason to go back to that now. We will hold talks based on a different situation”, the diplomat said.
Russia Hopes for Progress in Talks With US on Future of Arms Control
Russia hopes to have successful negotiations with the United States on the future of arms control in the next five years, for which the New START deal is likely to be extended, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.
“We want to use this period of time to establish in-depth intensive negotiations with the US on the future of arms control in a bid to agree on a new security formula that would cover all the factors that have influence on international security and strategic stability”, Ryabkov told reporters.
At the same time, the deputy foreign minister noted that Moscow is not ruling out the possibility of withdrawing from the New START deal ahead of schedule if the United States makes an attempt to undermine Russia’s security.
Earlier this week, the White House said that during a phone call President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed the willingness to extend New START for five years and agreed to have their teams work to complete the extension by the 5 February deadline.
New START has been in force since 2011 and is due to expire on 5 February. It is the only remaining legally binding agreement on nuclear arms control between Russia and the United States.
The treaty limits each country’s nuclear arsenal to 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 1,550 nuclear warheads, and 800 launchers.