Russia urges US to renew New START, expects no good from Biden
Russia has called on the outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Moscow, as a senior Russian diplomat says Moscow does not expect “anything good” from the incoming administration of US President-elect Joe Biden.
The Russian Embassy in Washington renewed Moscow’s offer to the US to extend the arms control treaty — which expires next February — for another five years in a statement cited Wednesday by Russia’s TASS news agency, insisting that “the extension will give Russia and the US time to find common ground on the ways to adopt the arms control regime to today’s security environment.”
“As things stay now, the Treaty is doomed to expire on February 5, 2021. President Vladimir Putin’s proposal from December 2019 to extend it for 5 years without preconditions still stands,” said the statement.
It further added, “We call [on] the US side to use what little time we have left till February 5 to save New START for the benefit of our two countries and the whole world.”
According to the diplomatic mission, the New START remains the last bilateral agreement verifiably and transparently limiting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington to speed up the decision to extend the treaty, but the Trump administration has put forth irrelevant preconditions for its extension, including that China also join the accord.
Separately, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Wednesday expressed little hope that the next US administration would treat Russia any better, citing the recent statements of incoming officials accusing Moscow of staging a massive cyber-attack on key US government agencies.
“We are definitely not expecting anything good. And it would be strange to expect good things from people many of whom made their careers on Russophobia and throwing mud at my country,” Ryabkov said in an interview with Interfax news agency on Wednesday.
The remarks came a day after Biden said the alleged hacking cannot go “unanswered,” vowing to retaliate once he takes office on January 20.
The Kremlin has in the past similarly denied US allegations of being behind cyber-attacks targeting Ukraine’s power grid, the 2017 French election, and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Referring to the latest US sanctions imposed earlier this week against 45 Russian institutions over their alleged military connections, Ryabkov also emphasized that the outgoing US administration was trying to “loudly slam the door.”
“We are going from bad to worse. This was very typical for the past four years, and so far, there is no feeling that this trend has outlived its usefulness,” Ryabkov said.
He said Moscow should move to a “total containment” approach toward Washington, retaining “selective dialog” on subjects that are of interest to Russia.
Ryabkov then declared that Russia would not initiate any contacts with Biden’s transition team, and would also not make any “unilateral concessions,” noting that if the US continued approaching Russia as a “strategic rival,” then Moscow would “treat them in a similar way.”