Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov admitted that Moscow could agree to the US proposal to extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-3) for less than five years. He stated this in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper.
“We would have preferred, of course, a five-year term,” he agreed. Ryabkov noted that if the United States is not ready for such a period, then an extension for a shorter period is possible.
At the same time, according to him, if the period for extending the treaty, to which the United States would be willing to agree, turns out to be so short that during this time it will not be possible to “agree on anything serious with them for the future,” then this will be a bad decision. “Although something is better than nothing,” Ryabkov noted.
He added that Russia would not pay the US asking price for an extension even for five years, let alone a shorter period. According to the deputy minister, Moscow does not seek to extend the agreement at any cost, but wants to reach an agreement with Washington on a reciprocal basis. “Therefore, by and large, there is no difference when we do not agree,” he concluded.
Ryabkov had previously stated that Russia would refuse to extend START III on Washington's terms. He noted that Moscow cannot speak with ultimatums, and US attempts to put pressure on arms control only diminish the chances of an agreement.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START III) was signed in 2010 by the then presidents of Russia and the United States, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama. The agreement came into force in 2011 and expires in February 2021.