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Biden administration’s first step should be extending New START - US expert

There are a lot of things the US and Russia need to do with our sustained dialogue, diplomacy around nuclear weapons and arms control discussions and cyber dangers, Sam Nunn noted

NEW YORK, December 1. /TASS/. Democrat Joe Biden, who has declared victory in the US presidential election, could announce the extension of New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) as one of his first steps, former Senator from Georgia Sam Nunn told the Fort Ross Dialogue international forum.

This year the forum is held via videoconference amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I would start with that dialogue [on the renewal of New START]. That’s the only arms control treaty we have left," he noted, recalling that US President Donald Trump had not taken steps to renew New START, which expires in February. "If he does not renew it I hope it will be one of the first acts President-Elect Biden carries out."

"There are a lot of things we [the US and Russia] need to do with our sustained dialogue, diplomacy around nuclear weapons and arms control discussions … and cyber dangers," Nunn noted. "We need understandings and red lines right now," the expert said, noting that this mainly concerns warning systems as well as command and control.

According to the former Senator, if he were an adviser to President Biden, he would "applicate a fail safe review looking at all of our warning systems, command and control systems, all the nuclear systems."


The New START Treaty, which was signed by Moscow and Washington in 2010, stipulates that seven years after it goes into effect, each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers.

The document is set to remain in effect until February 5, 2021, unless it is replaced with another agreement on nuclear arms reduction. It can also be extended for no more than five years (until 2026) with the consent of both parties.

Moscow calls on Washington not to delay solving the issue on a possible extension of the treaty, which it has described as "a golden standard" in disarmament. On October 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to extend New START for a year without preconditions. He said this time could be used to hold meaningful talks. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that in case New START was extended, the Russian side was ready to freeze its nuclear stockpiles, together with the US side, for that period if the US advanced no extra conditions.