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Moscow would extend the Treaty on the Reduction of Strategic Weapons "immediately, as soon as possible, even before the end of this year," Vladimir Putin declared.
The Russian Federation is willing to extend the term of the Strategic Weapons Reduction Treaty (START III) with the U.S. without preconditions, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared at a Defense meeting, in Moscow.
"Russia is ready immediately, as soon as possible, even before the end of this year, without any prior condition, to extend the START III treaty," Putin said while reaffirming this position of his country "so that there is no double or triple interpretation later".
He also recalled that the treaty is about to expire. "All our proposals to extend it are on the [US] table, but so far we have not received any response from our partners," Russian premier stressed.
The START III treaty will remain in effect until February 5th, 2021, unless it is replaced by another agreement. It can also be extended for 5 years (until 2026) by mutual agreement of the parties.
Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Riabkov, stated that the START III treaty is the last of the bilateral instruments in the field of strategic offensive weapons control between Moscow and Washington.
Russia Today informed that the Euro-Asian nation is not interested in unleashing an arms race and deploying medium and short-range missiles in territories where they are not currently deployed.
In this regard, Vladimir Putin reminded that the Russian Federation announced a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of medium and short-range missiles and invited other countries in Europe and the U.S. to join it. The Russian leader emphasized that only the French president, Emmanuel Macron, responded to the call.
"There is no reaction from other partners," Putin lamented, adding that "this forces us to take steps to counter these threats."
On November 8th, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, declared that the country is beginning to develop medium and short-range missiles as a reciprocal response to U.S. actions.
"Since the U.S. has already started to create medium and short-range land missiles, we, as the president [Vladimir Putin] had warned, will act reciprocally," said the minister.
At the same time, in order to preserve "a window of opportunity" and find "forms of predictability" in the missile sector, "Russia has decided not to deploy terrestrial missile systems of medium and short-range in any region until no missiles of this type of American production are deployed there," Lavrov said.
The Strategic Weapons Reduction Treaty (START III) signed in 2010 limits Russia and the U.S. stockpiles to a maximum of 700 missiles deployed, 1,550 nuclear warheads and 800 corresponding vehicles, deployed and in reserve.