The Trump administration’s negotiations with Russia over the last nuclear arms control treaty between the two powers continue to falter. On Tuesday, Marshall Billingslea, President Trump’s envoy for arms control, said he believes the US and Russia reached an “agreement in principle” to extend the New START treaty temporarily, but Russia quickly rejected these comments.
Moscow’s top arms control negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, said in response to Billingslea’s comments that Washington’s proposal to renew the vital arms control treaty is “unacceptable.”
The New START limits the number of nuclear warheads each power can have deployed. Russia has offered to extend the treaty for five years with no preconditions, as the agreement allows. The US has been demanding additional concessions from Russia for a shorter extension.
“We are in fact willing to extend the New START treaty for some period of time provided that they, in return, agree to a limitation — a freeze — on their nuclear arsenal,” Billingslea said at a virtual event hosted by the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday.
Billingslea has earlier threatened Russia that the price to renew the treaty “will go up” if Moscow does not agree to terms before the November 3rd US presidential election. According to Sputnik, Ryabkov also said on Tuesday that Russia would refuse any agreement on New START that was timed to coincide with the election.