Moscow, Oct 23 Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that even if the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the US expires, Mowcow can ensure its security with modern weapons.
"We are not clinging to this treaty. If our partners consider it unnecessary, we cannot do anything to convince them otherwise," Xinhua news agency quoted Putin as saying on Thursday while virtually addressing the 17th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think-tank.
"Russia's security will not suffer. After all, we have cutting-edge arms systems and they have our back," he said.
At the same time, the President expressed concern that if the New START terminates, the whole world will have no pact to restrain an arms race.
According to Putin, there were no substantial talks on this issue in the past as Russia's partners dodged such discussions.
Earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the country is ready to freeze its existing number of nuclear warheads along with the US in order to extend the New START by one year.
The US State Department then said it appreciated Russia's willingness to make progress on nuclear arms control.
In 2010, Washington and Moscow signed the New START, which stipulates limits to the numbers of deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems by both.
The New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers, will expire on February 5, 2021.
The agreement can be extended by a maximum of five years with the consent of the two countries.
Without an extension, the US and Russian nuclear arsenals would be unchecked for the first time since 1972.
Also on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a media outlet that Russian and US experts will hold consultations on extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in the coming days.
"Difficult expert consultations are expected to take place in the coming days with a goal to secure an extension agreement," TASS News Agency quoted Peskov as saying.
He added that the experts would particularly talk about freezing the number of nuclear warheads.
The Kremlin spokesman further said that "the issue is highly complicated because there are many strong disagreements between Moscow and Washington".
( With inputs from IANS )
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