Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed extending the latest Strategic Nuclear Weapons Reduction Treaty (START) for another year without any conditions.
It is the latest agreement between Moscow and Washington on nuclear weapons and armaments still in force as a result of disputes between the two superpowers.
Putin proposed the extension with his security council during discussions in the Kremlin. He hopes this will leave room for negotiations on the issue with the US.
The first START treaty was signed five months before the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991. It has been succeeded by modified versions, START II (1993), SORT (2002) and the new START treaty (2010). The latter will end in February.
US negotiator Marshall Billingslea reported earlier this week that the governments in Moscow and Washington had reached an “agreement in principle” to extend the nuclear arms control treaty “at the highest levels”.
His Russian interlocutor Sergei Riabkov contradicted this. He called the US condition to limit or freeze Russia’s arsenal unacceptable.
The treaty requires both countries to limit their nuclear weapons stocks to 1,550 operational warheads.