Russia says there 'is not enough time' to replace last US nuke treaty

Russia hints that a new arms race is about to begin as it warns there ‘is not enough time’ to draft new arms control treaty between Moscow and the US before current one expires in 2021

  • Russian foreign ministry official said there is not enough time to replace the New START nuclear forces treaty with the US before it expires in February 2021 
  • The treaty limits the number of large-scale nukes the two countries can deploy 
  • It is the only nuclear pact between the two, after the Trump administration tore up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty earlier this year 
  • Demise of both treaties raises the prospect of a new Cold War-style arms race 

Russia’s foreign ministry says there is no longer enough time left to draft a new nuclear arms treaty with the US before the only one left in existence expires. 

Foreign ministry official Vladimir Leontyev raised fears of a new Cold War arms race between the two world powers on Friday when he said it will not be possible to replace the New START treaty before it lapses in 2021.

New START, which limits the number of large-scale nukes that Russia and the US can deploy, is the only nuclear pact left between the two powers after Donald Trump tore up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) earlier this year.

Russia has raised the prospect of a new Cold War-style arms race, after a foreign ministry official said there is now not enough time to replace a key nuclear pact with the US (pictured, a US nuclear test at Bikini Atoll during the Cold War)

The New START treaty, which controls the number of large-scale nukes the US and Russia can deploy, is now due to expire in 2021 with no replacement. While Trump and Putin have both said they want a new agreement, no talks have been scheduled 

The INF, which was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev and was key to bringing an end to the Cold War, banned the development of smaller-scale nukes.

America said at the time that Russia was already in breach of the treaty, and it needed to withdraw in order to counter the threat.

Trump’s administration has also previously complained that China was not a signatory to that deal and has been developing a host of new weapons that threaten American allies in Asia-Pacific region.

Trump has said he wants to negotiate a new treaty with Russia, and Putin has also signalled his desire to form a new pact – but no summit has been scheduled. 

Leontyev said the two sides have been holding talks on New START for a year, although he added they have only agreed ‘a simplified version of a previous treaty.’ 

‘There are no new principal issues in it. However, now some issues arise, which require a very serious preliminary groundwork at an expert level,’ he added. 

Leontyev’s warning comes after a week which has seen Russia test a new submarine-launched nuclear-capable ballistic missile, and announce a new round of tests for its Satan 2 intercontinental nuclear missile.

The warning comes as China develops a new range of nuclear weapons, including the DF-41, thought by many to be the most powerful nuke ever developed

North Korea has also threatened to restart long-range nuclear missile testing next year unless Trump restarts stalled talks with Kim Jong-un (pictured, a North Korea weapon system the country tested this week)

On Thursday it was reported that Russia is also conducting a secret submarine mission to penetrate as far into the North Atlantic as possible, to prove to America that it can threaten the East Coast with nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, at a massive military parade in Beijing last month, China unveiled a host of new nuclear capable missiles including the DF-41, which is thought to be the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created.

North Korea has also threatening to restart long-range missile and nuclear tests in the New Year unless Donald Trump returns to negotiating over the country’s arsenal, with no date yet set for a fresh summit.

Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union and instrumental in ending the Cold War, has spoken out to warn Putin and Trump to deescalate the situation before it gets out of hand.

He told the daily newspaper Izvestia: ‘There are dangerous trends – they are all in plain sight. I would single out two. 

‘They are the disregard for international law and the militarisation of world politics.’ 

Russia has also been testing a new range of nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles which it claims cannot be stopped by current defence systems

Weapon: Flight tests on Russia’s new Sarmat-2 nuclear missile (pictured during initial testing) are expected to begin early next year

Russia, America and China have developed a new range of hypersonic nuclear missiles which creators claim are impossible to intercept with current technology.

Fears of an arms race have grown after the U.S. formally withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty in August, a move it had been signalling since last year.

The 1987 pact signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev had banned ground-launched weapons with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.

But Washington accused Moscow of violating the treaty and producing illegal missiles.

Earlier this year the U.S. tested a modified ground-launched version of a U.S. Navy Tomahawk cruise missile, which would have been banned under the treaty.

Putin urged his own defence chiefs to ‘take comprehensive measures to prepare a symmetrical answer’.

European leaders have voiced fears over the consequences of the treaty’s demise, amid concerns of an arms race not seen since the Cold War.

However NATO said in a statement in February the U.S. allies ‘fully support’ the withdrawal and agreed that Russia’s 9M729 missile violated the pact.

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