On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow is hoping for a quick deal with the incoming Biden administration to extend New START, the last nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia that is set to expire on February 5th.
“We have heard about the Biden administration’s intention to resume a dialogue on this issue and try to agree on the New START treaty’s extension before it expires on February 5th. We are waiting for specific proposals, our stance is well-known,” Lavrov said at a news conference.
Russia has repeatedly offered to extend New START for five years with no preconditions, as the treaty allows. Towards the end of 2020, the Trump administration was engaged in negotiations with Moscow over the treaty.
The Trump administration did not accept Moscow’s offer to extend the accord. Instead, President Trump’s envoy for the talks, Marshal Billingslea, made unreasonable demands of the Russians.
After eventually reaching an agreement for a one-year extension and a mutual freeze of each country’s nuclear warhead arsenals, the talks fell apart over disagreements on verification.
Joe Biden has said he favors the five-year extension, but he will have to work quickly to get it done.
The New START limits the number of missiles, bombers, and nuclear warheads each signatory can have deployed. If the treaty expires, there will be no constraints on the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the US, and it could mark the beginning of a new nuclear arms race.