Mar 12, 2019

Russian warning on arms control collapse

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, said today at the Carnegie Endowment's nuclear policy conference that Moscow would reject a last-minute extension to the New START arms control treaty under a new U.S. administration. The treaty expires in February 2021.

Why it matters: President Trump is withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and there’s a real chance that New START — a far more significant treaty that limits nuclear warheads and delivery systems — could be next. President Trump has called it a “bad deal,” and national security adviser John Bolton was among the treaty’s chief critics when it was being negotiated by Barack Obama.

Antonov was the lead Russian negotiator on New START. He noted the opposition of some “prominent political figures in Washington” and said Russia was still “looking for a final decision about whether Washington needs this treaty or not.”

  • He said Russia has serious concerns about how some aspects of the treaty are being implemented, and considers serious dialogue essential “before we put our signature to any document.”
  • Thus, if a new administration came in and was prepared to extend New START in its first days in office to beat the deadline, Antonov said, Russia would decline.
  • Jim Miller, a former U.S. nuclear negotiator and president of Adaptive Strategies, said not only is there “no certainty at all that this administration would agree to an extension,” it could actually “put a gun to the head” of the treaty to gain leverage with Congress.

Worth noting: Antonov put on a bit of a show. The temperature rose a bit in the room (filled with nuclear security experts) when he claimed Russia did “everything in our power” to save the INF treaty.

  • In his version, the U.S. wanted to kill the treaty because of concerns about China's arsenal, so it created a "fairytale about some so-called Russian missile.”
  • Both the Obama and Trump administrations accused Russia of violating the treaty.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 838,061 — Total deaths: 41,261 — Total recoveries: 174,115.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 177,452 — Total deaths: 3,440 — Total recoveries: 6,038.
  3. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with other health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  4. Federal government latest: The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.
  5. In Congress: New York Rep. Max Rose deploys to National Guard to help coronavirus response.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Misinformation in the coronavirus age.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: White House studies models projecting virus peak

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.

The state of play: The coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S. in two weeks, but many states like Virginia and Maryland will see their individual peaks well after that, according to a model by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes two-minute antibody testing kit to detect coronavirus

Currently, it takes days to produce results from testing kits. Photo: Sergei Malgavko\TASS via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval Tuesday for a serological testing kit produced by Bodysphere Inc. that can detect a positive or negative result for COVID-19 in two minutes.

Why it matters: Access to testing has improved in the U.S. thanks to commercial labs, but the average wait time for a patient's results is four to five days — with some reports of it taking more than a week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health