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US proposes longest possible extension of New START treaty with Russia by five years

Washington says it is of utmost importance in light of tensions in US-Russia ties

WASHINGTON, January 22. /TASS/. US authorities seek to extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) by five years, maximum possible extension, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the news at a briefing Thursday.

"I can confirm that the United States intends to seek a five-year extension of New START, as the treaty permits," she noted. "The president has long been clear that the New START treaty is in the national security interests of the United States."

Earlier, The Washington Post revealed that Joe Biden’s new administration plans to extend the only remaining treaty that limits nuclear forces of the two countries by five years.

The United States believes that the New START is especially important considering the current level of adversity in the relations between Washington and Moscow, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told.

"This extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is as adversarial as it is at this time," she said.

"New START is the only remaining treaty constraining Russian nuclear forces and is an anchor of strategic stability between our two countries," Psaki added.

Moscow and Washington signed the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms in 2010. Under its terms, either country must reduce its strategic offensive arms in such a way that at the end of the seventh year following its entry into force and later on their overall amounts should not exceed 700 units of deployed inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers, 1,550 warheads and 800 operational and non-operational missile launchers and strategic bombers. The treaty was concluded for a period of ten years (until February 5, 2021). It can be replaced by a follow-up agreement before the deadline expires, or prolonged for no more than five years (until 2026) by mutual consent.

Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington to extend the treaty, preferably by five years, characterizing the agreement as ‘gold standard’ in the disarmament sphere. When campaigning, Biden backed the New START extension.