It sounded like a promising solution, for a few hours.
Then the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei A. Ryabkov, shot back that this was a figment of someone’s election-season imagination. “Washington is describing what is desired, not what is real,” he said in a statement. For example, he said, Moscow would not freeze the number of tactical weapons it possesses.
With less than three weeks to Election Day, it seems no agreement is in the offing, and Trump administration officials are saying that, after the election, the price will go up. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee who was involved in the negotiation of the original agreement in 2010, has indicated that, if elected, he will agree to a straightforward, immediate extension of the accord for five years, the maximum allowed under the current terms, and then work to expand its scope.
As a result, Mr. Putin, looking at the polls, may be calculating that there is no reason to agree to any additional limits. But it also suggests that despite the C.I.A.’s conclusion that the Russian leader has a preference for Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin may also be hedging his bets — or betting that Mr. Trump will be a private citizen by the time the treaty runs out.
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On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to put the best face on the Russian rejection. “I am hopeful that the Russians will find a way to agree to an outcome that, frankly, I think is in their best interest,” he said at a news conference at the State Department.
But Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, joined the Kremlin’s dismissal of prospects for an agreement before the election, saying the Trump administration’s one-sided announcement of a nuclear limitation deal was an “unclean” diplomatic maneuver.