Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms treaty with the United States.

His signature came a week before the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or START was set to expire.

The agreement caps the two countries’ deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers to 700 each; deployed warlords on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers to 1,550 each; and deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and heavy bombers to 800 each. It was first implemented in 2010.

“The extension of the treaty is in line with Russia’s national interests as it makes it possible to maintain transparency and predictability in strategic relations between Russia and the US and preserve global strategic stability,” a statement from the Kremlin press office said.

“Besides, it will have a positive effect on the international situation, contributing to the nuclear disarmament process,” it added.

Russia’s Parliament gave its approval to the extension earlier this week. Putin submitted it to lawmakers after his Tuesday phone conversation with President Joe Biden – their first call.

“No doubt it is a step in the right step,” Putin said Wednesday before the World Economic Forum.

US Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said the treaty has served the United States’ “national security interests well.”

“We cannot afford to lose New START’s intrusive inspection and notification tools. Failing to swiftly extend New START would weaken America’s understanding of Russia’s long-range nuclear forces,” he said during a Jan. 21 briefing.The five-year extension allows time and space for both countries to explore new verifiable arms control arrangements, Kirby said. SOVEREIGNPH

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