The US extended the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia for five years on Wednesday, US State Secretary Antony Blinken said.”Extending the New START Treaty ensures we have verifiable limits on Russian ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers until February 5, 2026,” said Blinken, adding that the extension “makes the United States, US allies and partners, and the world safer” reported the Xinhua news agency.
Blinken noted that the five-year extension period would be used by Washington to pursue arms control with Moscow addressing all Russian nuclear weapons.
The last remaining nuclear arms control pact in force between the two nuclear superpowers is the New START, which limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed to 1,550 and delivery systems to 700 for each of them.
With the consent of both countries, the treaty can be extended by a maximum of five years.
After rounds of negotiations with Russia, the former Donald Trump administration attempted to conclude a shorter extension of the treaty last year, but the two sides failed to finalise a formal agreement.
President Joe Biden, immediately after taking office, proposed a full five-year extension of the treaty that expires on February 5, a move welcomed by the Kremlin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law last Friday ratifying the five-year extension with the United States of the New START.
The extension of the New START may be a bright spot for relations between the US and Russia, but overall tensions between Washington and Moscow are unlikely to decrease due to their differences in human rights issues, Ukraine, cyber security, and mutual accusations of interference in domestic politics.