On Friday, Russia welcomed the Biden administration’s plan to extend New START for five years. New START is the last nuclear arms control treaty between the two powers and is set to expire on February fifth.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Moscow is in favor of the extension and is waiting to see details of Biden’s proposal. “We can only welcome political will to extend the document,” he said. “But all will depend on the details of the proposal.”
The New START allows a five-year extension with no preconditions, something Russia repeatedly offered the US while in negotiations with the Trump administration. But Trump’s envoy for the talks demanded more concessions from the Russians and failed to reach an agreement.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the Biden administration’s stance at a briefing on Thursday. “I can confirm that the United States intends to seek a five-year extension of New START, as the treaty permits,” she said.
While Biden favors the extension, his administration is maintaining a hostile stance towards Moscow, as Psaki made clear. “And this extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is adversarial, as it is at this time,” she said.
New START limits the number of missiles, bombers, and nuclear warheads each power can have deployed. If the treaty lapses, there will be no constraints on either country’s nuclear arsenal, and it could spark a new nuclear arms race.