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U.S. signs five-year New START nuclear arms treaty renewal

U.S. signs five-year New START nuclear arms treaty renewal
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Wednesday announced that the United States joined Russia in signing a five-year extension of the New START arms control treaty. Pool Photo by Graeme Jennings/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday announced that the United States has signed a five-year extension of the New START arms control treaty with Russia.

New START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, allows the United States and Russia to monitor each other's nuclear forces, facilities and activities and, with the signing, will now run through Feb. 5, 2026.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the extension last Friday, saying at the time that "it will have a positive effect on the international situation, contributing to the nuclear disarmament process."

"The New START Treaty's verification regime enables us to monitor Russian compliance with the treaty and provides us with greater insight into Russia's nuclear posture, including through data exchanges and onsite inspections that allow U.S. inspectors to have eyes on Russian nuclear forces and facilities," Blinken said Wednesday in a press release.

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The original START Treaty was in force from 1994 to 2009, with an improved treaty signed and in effect beginning in 2010.

The treaty calls for a cap on the two countries' deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers to 700 each; deployed warheads 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.

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"The United States has assessed the Russian Federation to be in compliance with its New START Treaty obligations every year since the treaty entered into force in 2011," Blinken said.

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Putin said upon signing the renewal that 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 U.S. and preserve global strategic stability."

Agreeing to a five-year extension of the treaty was among U.S. President Joe Biden's first announcements as president.

"Russia's compliance with the treaty has served our national security interests well, and Americans are much safer with New START intact and extended," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a Jan. 21 statement.

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"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," Kirby said.

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