President Barack Obama will propose reducing the nation’s nuclear arsenal further if Russia agrees to at the same time, White House officials said on Tuesday.
The president intends to use a speech in Berlin on Wednesday to outline the proposal, The New York Times re
ports, and it would come amid frosty relations between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian president has demanded further concessions on missile defense before entertaining deeper cuts in nuclear weapons, the Times reports.
In his speech, Obama plans to propose cutting the number of strategic warheads that each nation still maintains by up to a third — bringing them under the 1,550 permitted in the treaty he signed with Russia in his first term, a senior administration official told the Times.
Under the proposal, both the United States and Russia would be left with slightly more than 1,000 weapons.
The president also is expected to pledge that he will work with NATO allies to develop proposals for large cuts in tactical nuclear weapons, the Times reports. Those arsenals are not covered by the current treaty.
Russia has far more tactical nuclear weapons deployed than the United States and Europe — and has strongly resisted such reductions, the Times reports.
Fears exist that such tactical weapons are in parts of Russia that could be seized by terrorists, according to the Times.
And, Obama is expected to announce in the speech that he will host a final nuclear security summit meeting in the United States just before he leaves office, the Times reports.
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