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  • An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S., August 2, 2017.

    An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S., August 2, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 November 2019
Opinion

The New START accord, which is due to expire in February 2021, was signed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

Russia has formally proposed to the United States that the two nuclear superpowers extend their New START arms control treaty for five more years as it is set to expire in 2021, a senior Russian official said Wednesday.

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“We proposed to the United States extending the treaty by five years as stipulated in it, or, if for some reason that is uncomfortable for the U.S. side, then for a shorter period of time...,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said as reported by RIA news agency.

The New START accord, which is due to expire in February 2021, was signed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, in 2010 and it limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads they can deploy to 1,550 each. The first START accord was signed in 1991 and expired in 2009. 

Back in October at the United Nations Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Defense Policy, Emerging Threats, and Outreach Thomas DiNanno said that “we need a new era of arms control, one in which Russia and China are at the negotiating table and willing to reduce nuclear risks rather than heighten them.”

Russia warned earlier this month there was already not enough time left for Moscow and Washington to negotiate a full-fledged replacement to the treaty and that time was running out to agree on an extension.

As the last major nuclear arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington is on the line, many worry the U.S. will pull-out as it did back on Aug. 2 when it abandoned the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed with Russia. 

The pact banned land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500-5,500 km), reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

For years, the U.S. has accused Russia of violating this treaty that prohibits both countries from manufacturing, deploying or testing short-range (311-621 miles) missiles and medium-range (621-3,418 miles) missiles. However, the evidence for these accusations has not been presented.

Behind those arguments lacking evidence, other circumstances and intentions have been hidden, among which is the interest of the U.S. to control China’s military growth, as they have invited the Asian nation to "a new era" of arms control.

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