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"Putin’s proposal would buy additional time for diplomacy. The demise of the foundational New START treaty could usher in an era of unconstrained nuclear competition between the United States and Russia with potentially destabilizing consequences."

  • Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Kennan Institute:

"After several rounds of talks, the US and Russia each offer a slightly different vision for the New START extension. Both sides agree that, per the terms of the original 2011 treaty, it can be extended for another 5 years by mutual agreement. The Russian side has offered such an extension, ostensibly 'without preconditions.' However, the US side, noting changing the global security context especially increasing tensions with China, has sought to negotiate a more expansive deal. Initially, the Trump administration sought a three-way agreement that would include China. More recently, senior US officials have described an "agreement in principle" with Russia to freeze warhead numbers on both sides, but the Russians have not confirmed this. What it amounts to is continuing uncertainty whether the New START agreement will be extended before February 2021, when it is otherwise set to expire."

  • Jeffrey Edmonds, Global Fellow:

"Putin's call for a year-long extension underscores the value the Kremlin sees in the New Start Treaty. Unlike other treaties, such as INF, where the Russians have sought to get around arms restrictions, the New Start Treaty represents one of the few agreements both capitals still share. It would be in the national interest of the United States to extend this treaty."


Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the region though research and exchange.  Read more

Nuclear Proliferation International History Project

The Nuclear Proliferation International History Project is a global network of individuals and institutions engaged in the study of international nuclear history through archival documents, oral history interviews, and other empirical sources. At the Wilson Center, it is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more