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US, Russian Officials Hail START Treaty Extension


FILE - Russian army RS-24 Yars ballistic missile system moves through Red Square during a military parade, marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, in Moscow on June 24, 2020.

The United States and Russia have agreed that their five-year extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as START, will enhance national and international security. The treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads and intercontinental ballistic missiles each side can maintain.

In separate speeches to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament, U.S. and Russian permanent representatives to the conference expressed their satisfaction with the START agreement their countries completed on Tuesday.

FILE - U.S. disarmament ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood speaks at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, April 19, 2018.
FILE - U.S. disarmament ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood speaks at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, April 19, 2018.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood said Washington believes the New START treaty is in the national security interests of the United States, its allies and the global community. He noted the United States and Russia have been in compliance with the treaty’s obligations since it took effect in 2011. He said he looked forward to a continuation of that record.

“The extension agreement is now in force. … Its verification regime enables the United States and Russia to monitor each other’s compliance with the treaty, giving us confidence that our respective forces remain within the treaty limits and providing us with insight into each other’s strategic nuclear forces and operations that would be lost without extension of the treaty,” he said.

The new inspection and verification regime that will be established allows satellite and remote monitoring, as well as on-site inspections of both countries’ nuclear weapons facilities.

Russian Ambassador Gennady Gatilov praised what he called the balanced approach taken by the two nuclear powers in renewing the START treaty. He said it reflected the responsibility felt by both parties in the importance of maintaining global strategic stability.

“We review positively the decision by the new U.S. administration to respond to our Russian initiative to renew the treaty for five years without any additional terms or conditions. We see the consistency of the steps taken by President Joe Biden. He followed up on his campaign promises with concrete action, and he sent a signal that inspires optimism," he said.

Both the U.S. and Russian ambassadors agreed that the New START treaty was the beginning, not the end, of their engagement on strategic issues. They expressed an urgency in pursuing new arms control measures aimed at controlling nuclear missile weaponry.

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