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Russia urges Biden to be 'more constructive' on arms treaty

The agreement, which caps the number of nuclear warheads between the two powers, is set to expire on February 5

AFP , Wednesday 20 Jan 2021
Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 AP
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Russia on Wednesday urged US President Joe Biden's new administration to take a "more constructive" approach in talks over the extension of the New START treaty, Washington's last arms reduction pact with Moscow.

"We expect that the new US administration will take a more constructive approach in its dialogue with us," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We are ready for such work on principles of equal rights and taking mutual interests into account."

The agreement, which caps the number of nuclear warheads between the two powers, is set to expire on February 5.

The Russian foreign ministry accused the administration of Biden's predecessor Donald Trump of "deliberately and intentionally" dismantling international arms control agreements.

Moscow accused the previous US administration of not planning to extend New START, referring to its "counterproductive and openly aggressive" approach in talks.

The Russian foreign ministry said the treaty should be extended in its current version and "without any pre-conditions," adding that prolonging the arms pact for five years would be "preferable."

"This would allow Russia and the United States to seriously begin a joint search for responses to the issues of international security and strategic stability that are now arising," the ministry said in the statement.

"At the same time the current level of transparency and predictability in relation to New START would remain in place which would be in the interests of security of both our countries and the whole world."

Russian President Vladimir Putin last year proposed a one-year extension on New START.

President Donald Trump's administration had unsuccessfully sought to expand the treaty to bring in China, which has a fast-growing military that remains significantly smaller than those of Russia and the United States.

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