Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that a global arms race is inevitable if the US and Russia do not agree to extend the ten-year Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which is due to expire in early 2021.
Speaking at a Q&A session with reporters in Moscow on Thursday, Putin said that Russia stands ready “to simply renew the existing New START agreement,” even if it happens as fast as by the end of this year.
“They can send us the [agreement] tomorrow, or we can sign and send it to Washington. Let their designated official sign it too, including the president, if they’re ready to do so.”
“But so far our proposals have been left unanswered” by the US, Putin stressed.
“If the New START ceases to exist, nothing in the world will hold back an arms race. I believe this is bad.”
Signed by the US and Russia in 2010, the treaty limits the development and deployment of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery.
In February, the US announced plans to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) with Russia, which banned all land-based missiles with the range up to 5,500km (3,420 miles), and officially left six months later.
Washington abandoned the agreement after accusing Moscow of secretly violating it. Russia, which has repeatedly denied these allegations, stopped implementing the INF Treaty after the US left it.