Russia has welcomed the Biden administration’s announcement it is seeking a five-year extension of the New START arms control treaty, set to expire February 5, though the Kremlin says it will await 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.”
At a briefing Friday, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the U.N. leader applauded both the U.S. and Russia for the considering the extension.
“A five-year extension will not only maintain verifiable caps on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, but it will also provide time to negotiate new nuclear arms control agreements to grapple with our increasingly complex international environment,” Stephane Dujarric told reporters,
Durjarric said Guterres urges both sides to work quickly and not miss the February 5 deadline.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also 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.”
While on the campaign trail last year, President Joe 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 attempts to interfere with the 2020 election, to hack into the computers of U.S. government agencies, and the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The START 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.