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US to seek extension of nuclear arms treaty with Russia

New START deal is set to expire on Feb. 5

Servet Günerigök   | 22.01.2021
US to seek extension of nuclear arms treaty with Russia


The US intends to seek a five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the last remaining arms control agreement between Washington and Moscow. 

The New START deal is set to expire on Feb. 5.

"This extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is adversarial as it is at this time," said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki at a press briefing.

Psaki said even as the US works with Russia to advance America’s interests, President Joe Biden is issuing a tasking to the intelligence community for its "full assessment" of the SolarWinds cyber breach, Russian interference in the 2020 elections, poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny and alleged bounties on US troops in Afghanistan.

The first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START I, signed in 1991 between the US and USSR, took effect in 1994.

The New START treaty, signed in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 and deployed ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments to 700 and includes inspections to verify compliance with the deal.

The Pentagon's chief spokesman, John Kirby, hailed Biden's decision to extend the treaty, saying it "advances the nation's defense."

"Russia's compliance with the treaty has served our national security interest well, and Americans are much safer with New START intact and extended. We cannot afford to lose New START's intrusive inspection and notification tools," said Kirby in a statement.

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