Leonid Slutsky, head of the Russian legislature’s foreign affairs committee, said Mr Putin’s proposal would remove pressure on the deal before the agreement expires and unravel US arms policy talks.
The Trump administration has agreed to agree to a five-year extension without revisions, an option that does not require Senate approval. Mr Trump found this unacceptable, as the treaty signed by President Obama did not cover either Russian or Chinese nuclear weapons.
However, China has refused to join any revised version of the New Launch, arguing that its nuclear arsenal is smaller than that of the United States or Russia.
Although eager to save the New Start, Russia has little interest in giving President Trump a foreign policy victory ahead of the U.S. presidential election, which is less than three weeks away, indicating, perhaps, that he expects Mr. Biden to won. Senior Russian officials this week cast contempt on Mr Trump’s chief negotiator, Marshall Billingsley, for “an agreement in principle at the highest levels of our two governments to extend the treaty.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. Ryabkov dismissed this as a fantasy. “Washington is describing what is desired, not what is real,” Mr Ryabkov, Russia’s chief negotiator, said in a statement.
However, Russia’s open mockery of the alleged deal has made Moscow look rude and risks compromising Putin’s longstanding efforts to portray his country as deeply committed to arms control – unlike the United States, which has withdrawn from a number of agreements in the past.
Mr Putin’s proposal on Friday, said Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and a veteran foreign policy analyst, offered an attempt to repair any damage to Russia’s image from the dispute this week, more than an offer with a real chance of being accepted.