US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington would use the five years of the New START treaty's renewal to pursue limits on all of Russia's nuclear weapons.
The United States has joined Russia in extending the two countries' last remaining treaty limiting their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, two days before the pact was set to expire.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the US would use the five years of the New START treaty's renewal to pursue limits on all of Russia's nuclear weapons. That's after the Trump administration pulled out of two other such deals, as part of a broad withdrawal from international accords.
The countries last week announced plans to extend the agreement, even as the Biden administration has stepped up criticism of Russia over the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, its involvement in a massive hack and other issues.
“Especially during times of tension, verifiable limits on Russia’s intercontinental-range nuclear weapons are vitally important. Extending the New START Treaty makes the United States, US allies and partners, and the world safer," Blinken said. “An unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us all.”
The 5-year extension of New START makes the United States and the world safer. This welcome step is the start of our efforts to pursue effective arms control that lowers the risks of war and helps prevent arms races.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 3, 2021
Turkey welcomes extension
A statement by Turkey’s foreign minister welcomed the extension of the New START agreement saying, “it ensures strategic stability between the two countries” and that the pact “will contribute to the strengthening of the arms control regime and fight against global security challenges.”
The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits the number of US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons.
The outgoing Trump administration made a late bid to extend the treaty, but Russia rejected its conditions.
The treaty was due to expire on Friday. Both houses of the Russian Parliament voted unanimously last month for the extension, and President Vladimir Putin signed the bill.
I welcome the agreement to extend the #NewSTART treaty for 5 years. The treaty contributes to international stability & is of great importance to #NATO Allies. This the beginning, not the end, of an effort to further strengthen international arms control. https://t.co/Lq6aStXMXE— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) February 3, 2021
Declaration of @JosepBorrellF on behalf of the EU on the New START Treaty— EU Council Press (@EUCouncilPress) February 3, 2021
- welcomes the treaty's extension for 5 more yrs. START is a crucial contribution to intl & European security
- stresses the need to preserve & advance general arms controlhttps://t.co/7YMPuSG1BI
That was after President Joe Biden and Putin talked and agreed on the extension, part of a quick round of diplomacy by the less than a month-old US administration to keep the treaty going. The extension doesn't require formal congressional approval in the United States.
The Biden administration will also work on control measures for China's smaller but growing arsenal of nuclear warheads, Blinken said.