A Russian RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system rolls down the Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Bai Xueqi)
"Russia's security will not suffer. After all, we have cutting-edge arms systems and they have our back," Putin said.
MOSCOW, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Even if the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the United States expires, Russia can ensure its security with modern weapons, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
"We are not clinging to this treaty. If our partners consider it unnecessary, we cannot do anything to convince them otherwise," Putin said via a video conference at the 17th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think tank.
"Russia's security will not suffer. After all, we have cutting-edge arms systems and they have our back," he said during a Q&A session.
At the same time, he expressed concern that if the New START terminates, the whole world will have no pact to restrain an arms race.
According to Putin, there were no substantial talks on this issue in the past as Russia's partners dodged such discussions.
Earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the country is ready to freeze its existing number of nuclear warheads along with the United States in order to extend the New START by one year.
The U.S. State Department then said it appreciated Russia's willingness to make progress on nuclear arms control.
In 2010, Washington and Moscow signed the New START, which stipulates limits to the numbers of deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems by both. The New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers, will expire on Feb. 5, 2021.
The agreement can be extended by a maximum of five years with the consent of the two countries. Without an extension, the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals would be unchecked for the first time since 1972. ■