Russia in bid to end arms race with the US
Russia said on Tuesday it would be ready to freeze its total number of nuclear warheads if the United States did the same in order to extend their last major arms control treaty by a year.
The offer, two weeks before the US presidential election, appeared to narrow the gap between the two sides over the fate of the New START agreement, which is due to expire in February.
The United States last week rejected a Russian offer to unconditionally extend the pact for one year, saying that any proposal that did not envisage freezing all nuclear warheads was a “non-starter.”
But a statement published by the Russian Foreign Ministry yesterday suggested that the two countries’ positions had moved closer.
“Russia is proposing to extend New START by 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,” it said.
New START, signed in 2010, imposes limits on the two countries’ strategic nuclear arsenals. Extending it would mark a rare bright spot in the fraught relationship.