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RUSSIA said today it was ready to accept a US proposal to freeze the number of nuclear warheads and extend the two nations’ last arms-control pact for one year.
The statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry marks a shift in Moscow’s position after Russia and the US had rejected each other’s offers regarding the New Start treaty, which expires in February.
The ministry said it was ready for a deal if the US does the same and does not put forward any additional demands.
The New Start treaty was signed in 2010 by then US president Barack Obama and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.
The pact limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.
After both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year, the New Start is the only remaining nuclear arms-control deal between the two countries.
Russia has offered its extension without any conditions, while the Donald Trump administration initially pushed for a new agreement that would also include China.
Washington recently modified its stance and proposed a one-year extension of the 2010 treaty, but said this must be coupled with the imposition of a broader cap on US and Russian nuclear warheads. The cap would cover warheads not limited by the New Start treaty.
Russia has now agreed to a one-year extension, having resisted a broader cap on warheads until today.
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