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  Wednesday, November 20, 2019
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Russia is preparing proposals extending the validity of disarmament agreements
Russia is preparing proposals extending the validity of disarmament agreements, the foreign minister said Thursday. "We are drafting proposals that will mean treaties on restrictions on strategic offensive weapons will not end when the current agreements expire," Sergei Lavrov told members of the lower house of Russia's parliament. Lavrov said it was difficult to see where a global threat might emerge, but added politicians should be responsible for their actions. "We are doing everything possible to eradicate this threat," he said. "From the standpoint of today, this means objectives concerning, in particular, the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and primarily the political resolution of Iran's nuclear program and the Korean peninsula nuclear problem." The Russian minister said there were still some "hotheads" in the world, citing as an example a doctrine formulated by some American experts that the U.S. could build up certain levels of weaponry to avoid any chance of retaliatory measures. "It is good that these ideas have not been reflected in American officials' statements," Lavrov said. Lavrov said Russia regularly analyzed the situation and the state of nuclear arsenals of some states as well as plans to deploy conventional forces, especially in Europe. "This is reflected in our strategic planning," he said. President Vladimir Putin proposed in late June that talks be opened with Washington on replacing START-I, which was signed at the end of the Soviet era and expires in three years' time, with a new arms deal. The treaty was followed by START-II, which banned the use of multiple re-entry vehicles but never entered into force and was later bypassed by the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, signed on May 24, 2002 by Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush in Moscow. SORT, which expires on December 31, 2012, limited both countries' nuclear arsenal to 1,700-2,200 warheads each. The treaty has been criticized for a lack of verification provisions and the possibility of re-deploying stored warheads.
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