Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Moscow is seeking to renew the nuclear New Start treaty, a key remaining US-Russian arms treaty, before the end of the year.
Putin, while speaking to military chiefs and Russian defense executives said that the decision must be made quickly on the soon-to-expire document, and Washington’s position is so far unclear.
Putin further said,”Russia is ready to renew the New Start treaty without delay, as quickly as possible, before the end of this year”.
“I can say this officially so that later there are no double or triple interpretations of our position,” he said.
On Tuesday, Putin said that Russia is open to cooperation with NATO as a two-day summit of the Western alliance in the UK.
Earlier in August, Putin had said that Russia was looking forward to stepping up a dialogue with the United States over disarmament and strategic stability.
Cold War rivals Russia and the United States have ripped up the Soviet-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty this year, blaming one another for its demise.
The New Start, inked in 2010 by then-presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev during a much warmer period in US-Russia relations, is seen as the last key nuclear deal still standing which keeps the arsenals of both countries below their Cold War peak.
The treaty obliged the sides to halve their numbers of strategic nuclear missile launchers and establish a new verification regime.
Earlier on Wednesday, Putin’s pledge to renew the treaty came a day after the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the US House of Representatives held a hearing on the importance of the treaty.
Former undersecretary for arms control and NATO deputy secretary-general Rose Gottemoeller warned that “things could change drastically and quickly” without the treaty and possibly lead the US to a “strategic crisis”.