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USA

US Extends Sole Remaining Nuclear Arms Treaty With Russia

The US Secretary of State said the Biden administration will also work on measures for China’s growing arsenal of nuclear warheads.

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The United States has joined Russia in extending the last remaining treaty limiting their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, two days before the pact was set to expire.

The treaty, signed in 2010 by then-US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits the number of US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons.

In a statement, the US Secretary of State said the US would use the five years of the New START treaty to pursue limits on all of Russia’s nuclear weapons.

"Especially during times of tension, verifiable limits on Russia’s intercontinental-range nuclear weapons are vitally important," Antony Blinken said.

"Extending the New START treaty makes the United States, US allies and partners, and the world safer.

"An unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us all."

Last week, both countries announced plans to extend the agreement, even as US President Joe Biden stepped up criticism of Russia, including the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The extension comes after the Trump administration pulled out of two similar deals as part of a broad withdrawal from international accords.

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Mr Biden was inaugurated as US President two weeks ago (Picture: PA).

The outgoing Trump administration did make 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 of the treaty and Vladamir Putin signed the bill.

It came after Mr Biden and Mr Putin agreed on the extension – part of a quick round of diplomacy by the new US administration to keep the treaty going.

The extension does not 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, Mr Blinken said.

Cover image: US President Joe Biden.