The U.S. and Russia are on the verge of an arms-control deal that would freeze the number of nuclear warheads on each side and extend the New START agreement for a year, a senior Trump administration official said Tuesday.
“We are very, very close to a deal,” the official said. “Now that the Russians have agreed to a warhead freeze, I do not see why we cannot work out the remaining issues in the coming days.”
The Trump administration has been pressing Russia to conclude the agreement before the Nov. 3 U.S. election, a development that would provide President Trump with a diplomatic achievement in the final days of his campaign.
On Friday, the two sides appeared to be at odds over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal that the 2011 New START treaty—which cuts long-range arms and is due to expire in February—be extended unconditionally for a year.
But on Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Moscow also would agree to the longstanding U.S. demand for a warhead freeze for the same period if New START is extended.