World news – The Kremlin welcomes the US offer to extend the nuclear pact

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Agence France-Presse. Moscow |

Published: 10:41 p.m., January 23, 2021

| Updated: 10:41 PM, Jan 23,2021

Russia and the United States on Friday approached the renewal of a nuclear pact ahead of the near-expiration date of the last arms control agreement between former Cold War rivals.

The new START treaty, which expires on February 5th, will seen as a rare opportunity for a compromise between Moscow and Washington, whose relations have deteriorated further due to recent allegations of cyber hacking and electoral interference.

The deal limits Washington and Moscow to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads deployed, a reduction of about 30 percent compared to the 2002 limit, and 800 launchers and bombers – enough to blow up the world many times over.

The Kremlin on Friday welcomed a US proposal to extend the pact by five years but warned that an extension would depend on the details of the offer.

« We can do the political will We only welcome en to expand this document, « Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, but warned that » it all depends on the details of this proposal. « The comments from President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman came a day after White House announced that Washington would work towards a five-year extension.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said efforts to reach an agreement were all the more relevant given that « relations with Russia are as controversial as it is « .

The cautiously optimistic rhetoric from Moscow and Washington is set against the background of deeply strained relations and Biden’s election pledge to take a tougher stance on Russia than the previous White House administration.

The legislature in the US last year called for the punishment of Russia after it concluded that Kremlin-backed hackers were behind a widespread cyber intrusion financial institutions.

The latest allegations have contributed to the conclusions of US intelligence that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections to support Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, including through manipulation through social media.

Despite On his promise to represent Putin tougher against Trump, Biden’s aides spoke out in favor of reaching an agreement with Moscow before his inauguration.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Biden’s proposal on Friday and said: « We shouldn’t get into one A situation in which we have no restrictions on nuclear warheads.

« I see the treaty extension not as the end, but as the beginning of efforts to further strengthen international nuclear arms control, » he said in a statement.

« Agreements that cover more weapons and include more nations like China should be on the agenda in the future. »

« The General Secretary encourages both states to work quickly to complete the necessary procedure to extend the restart before February 5th, « said his spokesman.

France, like Russia and the US, which are permanent members of NATO , also welcomed the news, but added that an extension of the treaty was just the beginning.

Such a step « must be followed quickly by the redefinition of an ambitious, more global agenda for arms control and strategic stability, » it said a statement by the French Foreign Ministry.

« The Europeans who are primarily affected must play an active role, » the statement added.

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