(Reuters) – Russia said on Friday there was no longer enough time left for Moscow and Washington to negotiate a full-fledged replacement for the New START nuclear arms control treaty before it expires in February 2021.
The New START accord is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads they can deploy.
The fate of the accord has been in the spotlight since Washington in August pulled out of another landmark strategic arms accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), citing violations by Russia that Moscow denies.
“It’s already obvious that with the time that is left… we will not be able to work out a full-fledged replacement document,” Vladimir Leontyev, a foreign ministry official, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
The treaty can be extended by mutual agreement, but the prospect of that happening is unclear as Washington is not moving quickly and Moscow would need at least half a year to implement any extension agreement, Leontyev said.
The existing accord was signed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, in 2010. It also curbs the number of nuclear launchers and deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers they can have.
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