Proposal meets with astonishment: Biden wants to negotiate with Russia about nuclear weapons control

The treaty between the US and Russia on nuclear weapons control expires in 2026.

Proposal meets with astonishment: Biden wants to negotiate with Russia about nuclear weapons control

The treaty between the US and Russia on nuclear weapons control expires in 2026. But US President Biden suggests that negotiations should already be held on a successor. The proposal has caused irritation on the Russian side.

US President Joe Biden has urged Russia and China to engage in talks on nuclear weapons control. In a statement, the US President reiterated that his administration is ready to negotiate "expeditiously" on a replacement for New START, the US-Russia strategic nuclear arms limitation treaty. This expires in 2026.

A Russian government official, on the other hand, expressed surprise at Biden's proposal. "Is that a serious statement or has the White House website been hacked?" said the State Department official, who declined to be named. "If this is serious, who do you want to discuss it with?"

Biden had previously said that Russia should "show that it is ready to resume work on nuclear arms control". In particular, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February, he sees responsibility in Moscow. Russia's "brutal and unprovoked aggression in Ukraine" has "shattered peace in Europe" and represents "an attack on the cornerstones of the international order," Biden said.

He stressed that Russia and the US in particular, as nuclear superpowers, have a responsibility to set the tone and ensure the viability of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology around the world.

At the start of a NPT review conference at the UN headquarters in New York, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that humanity was "just one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation". "We've been exceptionally lucky so far," said Guterres. "But luck isn't a strategy. And it doesn't prevent geopolitical tensions from escalating into a nuclear conflict." The world is currently facing a threat "not seen since the height of the Cold War."

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a letter to participants at the NPT conference that there can be no winners in a nuclear war. Such a war should never be started.

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