The Russian Ministry of Affairs released a statement on 20 October commenting on the proposal put forward by President Vladimir Putin on 16 October on extending the New START Treaty. In his proposal, president Putin suggested extending the current New START Treaty for one year.
The Ministry noted that Russia has not received an official response from the United States to the proposal of President Putin on 16 October. Therefore, for the purpose of clarifying its position, they issued the following statement:
Russia proposes to extend the START Treaty for one year and is ready, together with the United States, to make a political commitment to “freeze” the number of nuclear warheads held by the parties for this period. This position can be implemented strictly and exclusively on the understanding that the "freezing" of warheads will not be accompanied by any additional demands from the United States.
If this approach suits Washington, then the time gained as a result of the START extension can be used to conduct comprehensive bilateral negotiations on the future control of nuclear missile weapons with the obligatory consideration of all factors affecting strategic stability.
We look forward to receiving an official response to our note of October 16 this year.
NEW START TREATY
In March, Russia and the United States have suspended bilateral inspection missions within the framework of the New START treaty on the reduction of strategic nuclear arms due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Moscow and Washington also had agreed to postpone the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) meeting, scheduled for March, due to the pandemic, the leading US expert said, citing diplomatic and Congressional sources.
The New START Treaty, which was signed by Moscow and Washington in 2010, stipulates that seven years after it goes into effect, each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers.
The document is set to remain in effect until February 5, 2021, unless it is replaced with another agreement on nuclear arms reduction. It can also be extended for no more than five years (until 2026) with the consent of both parties.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay solving the issue on a possible extension of the treaty, which it has described as "a golden standard" in disarmament. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with The Financial Times in June 2019 that if this treaty ceased to exist there would be no other tools in the world containing the arms race.
Arms Control Association said that "If the treaty expires without an extension or replacement, there will be no legally binding constraints on the world's two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time in half a century. Although Russia has indicated its support for a clean, unconditional extension, the Trump administration remains officially undecided about whether to extend the treaty and is seeking a more comprehensive arms control agreement that includes more types of Russian weapons as well as China."