Putin signs extension of Russia-US nuke treaty

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a bill into law ratifying a five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the US, one of the last major arms reduction treaties signed since the end of the Cold War.

The validity period of the New START will be extended by five years to February 5, 2026, Xinhua news agency quoted the Kremlin as saying in a statement issued on Friday.

On Tuesday, Moscow and Washington exchanged notes on extending the key arms control pact.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Joe Biden of the US welcomed the move in a telephone call.

The same day, Putin submitted a bill on the extension in the State Duma (the lower house of parliament).

On Wednesday, the Russian Parliament approved it.

The extension of the treaty meets Russia’s national interests, makes it possible to preserve the transparency and predictability of Moscow-Washington strategic relations, helps to maintain strategic stability in the world, positively affects the international situation, and contributes to the nuclear disarmament process, the Kremlin said.

In response to the development, a US State Department representative told Russia’s TASS News Agency said: “There are still steps that should be finalized. But we are optimistic that the extension, which obviously meets our national security interests, will be finalized before expiration on February 5.”

In 2010, Russia and the US signed the New START, which stipulates limits to the numbers of deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems by both.

Russian RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile systems are seen on the Red Square for the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia. (XinhuaBai Xueqiians)

The last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers was about to expire on February 5 before they agreed to preserve it.

The administration of former President Donald Trump tried to conclude a shorter extension of the treaty last year after rounds of negotiation with Russia, but the two sides failed to finalise a formal agreement.