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US staying on track in carrying out New START treaty, says State Department

Despite Donald Trump’s criticism of the New START treaty in February 2017, the White House nevertheless made it clear in September 2017 that it did not rule out the possibility of extending the accord

WASHINGTON, February 5. /TASS/. Washington will remain on track to fully implement the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), an official at the US Department of State told TASS, commenting on the situation surrounding the accord, given that on February 5, the two countries are expected to reach the limits set by the treaty.

"The United States will continue to fully implement New START, which contributes to preserving strategic stability between the United States and Russia and is a critical component of global nuclear nonproliferation efforts," the State Department official said.
At the same time, she declined to clarify whether the US government stood for extending the New Start treaty until 2021 and its possible extension for another five years or for drawing up a new agreement with Russia on the further reduction of nuclear weapons. "We will consider next steps related to the Treaty at the appropriate time," the US diplomat said.

According to her, "within the next month or so both countries will exchange data on their strategic nuclear arsenals, as we have done twice a year under the Treaty’s terms for the last seven years." "Our focus in the near term is on that next data exchange, after which we hope each country will confirm the other’s compliance with the Treaty’s central limits as soon as possible," the US State Department official added.

The New Start treaty, which came into force in 2011, stipulates that seven years after its 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.

According to a document issued by the US State Department on September 1, 2017, at the time Russia had 501 deployed nuclear delivery means and 1,561 deployed warheads, while the United States had 660 deployed nuclear delivery means and 1,393 deployed warheads.

The US Department of State and the Pentagon support the continuation of the nuclear arms reduction process. In February 2017, US President Donald Trump criticized the New START treaty, but in September 2017, the White House made it clear that it did not rule out the possibility of extending the accord.