United States seeks extension of nuclear treaty with Russian Federation

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Biden is looking to put Russia on notice in other areas, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, by ordering the intelligence community to issue a full assessment on recent Russian aggression, including the massive SolarWinds hack and the alleged bounties offered to the Taliban for killing USA troops.

For the first time, Russian Federation offered to extend CHB-III without preliminary conditions at the beginning of 2020.

USA allies, particularly in Europe, are sure to applaud Biden's proposal, which also provides an early signal of his intent to pursue arms control.

Psaki said that "this extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russian Federation is adversarial as it is at this time".

Marshall Billingslea, who was special presidential envoy for arms control under President Trump, said Mr. Biden was giving away the store with a five-year extension.

"Just as we engage Russian Federation in ways that advance American interests, we in the department will remain clear-eyed about the challenges Russian Federation poses and committed to defending the nation against their reckless and adversarial actions", Mr. Kirby said. "NATO Allies have made clear that the preservation of New START is of great importance". "And the department stands ready to support our colleagues in the State Department as they effect this extension and explore those new arrangements".

Reports suggest that Russia's ambassador to the USA plans to meet with President Joe Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan on Thursday. "At the end of the day you're no better off because now you've forced Russian Federation and the United States to build up its capabilities", the official elaborated.

'We should not end up in a situation with no limitation on nuclear warheads, and New START will expire within days, ' Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

But Stoltenberg also underlined that 'an extension of the New START is not the end, it's the beginning of our efforts to further strengthen arms control'.

The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, 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.

Russia: Biden may be more flexible in arms control talks
Biden seeks five-year extension of New Start arms control treaty with Russia: Source

Critics of Trump's approach said the US had no real leverage to drag Beijing into the arms control agreement, while supporters thought Beijing might ultimately agree because it wants Russian nuclear arms controlled, and would prefer a trilateral agreement to none at all.

The Trump administration had initially been eager to pursue an arms control framework that would also involve China, which is bolstering its nuclear and missile forces, but Beijing showed no interest in coming to the table.

"The President has always been clear that the New START treaty is in the national security interests of the United States".

With the clock ticking to the expiration, the Trump administration voiced willingness for a one-year extension but talks broke down over U.S. insistence on tougher verification that Russian Federation has frozen its nuclear work.

Lloyd Austin, Biden's nominee for secretary of defence, similarly said that extending New START would be in America's national security interests.

Earlier Friday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced that Biden would seek to extend New START, which is set to expire in February, for another five years.

Biden's choice for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday that the incoming US administration would seek to extend the pact and decide how long an extension to pursue. Despite all obstacles, Moscow hopes that the START will be prolonged without conditions. "Therefore, we will first look at the proposed usa and then comment on it", Peskov explained.

But tensions between Washington and Moscow remain.

The proposal was first reported by The Washington Post.

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And it's doubtful numerous almost 16 million people now receiving unemployment benefits will be back to work by then. That can result in temporary lapses of aid as recipients have to reapply to overwhelmed state unemployment offices.

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