Fri, 26 Feb 2021

Moscow Welcomes US Plan to Seek Arms Treaty

Voice of America
22 Jan 2021, 23:35 GMT+10

Russia welcomed Friday the Biden administration's announcement Thursday it is seeking a five-year extension of the New START arms control treaty, set to expire February 5, with the Kremlin saying it is waiting to see the details.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Russia "can only welcome political will to extend the document," adding, "But all will depend on the details of the proposal."

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement supporting the administration move.

The New START Treaty, Menendez said, "is critical for U.S. national security. It constrains Russia's strategic nuclear forces, provides strong and detailed verification measures to ensure Russia adheres to its commitments, and ensures the United States has the flexibility it needs to maintain a safe, secure, modern, and effective nuclear deterrent."

Menendez, stated however, that the administration "must confront a revanchist Russia" that continues to threaten the U.S. and its allies.

"I expect a strong response from the administration to address the recent SolarWinds cyberattack, Kremlin attacks on our election process, and its brutal efforts to silence and murder political opposition," Menendez said.

On the campaign trail last year, Biden indicated that he intended to preserve the treaty.

Despite the proposal on the START treaty, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Biden is committed to holding Russia to account for several "reckless and adversarial actions," including its alleged involvement in the Solar Winds hacking, interference in last year' election and poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press briefing after a meeting with President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould El-Ghazouani at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 14, 2021. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press briefing at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 14, 2021.

Also, on Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the U.S. and Russia should extend the treaty and broaden it.

"We should not end up in a situation with no limitation on nuclear warheads, and New START will expire within days," Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

"An extension of the New START is not the end, it's the beginning of our efforts to further strengthen arms control," Stoltenberg said.

The treaty was signed in 2010 by then-U.S. President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Under the pact, each country is limited to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump had attacked the deal, contending that it put the United States at a disadvantage.

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