Russia parliament ratifies bill extending last nuclear arms control treaty with US
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Russia parliament ratifies bill extending last nuclear arms control treaty with US

The Russian parliament unanimously ratified a bill Wednesday to extend Russia’s Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the US. Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden had agreed Tuesday to extend the treaty.

The New START treaty was signed in April 2010 and entered into force in February 2011. It is the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia, given that the former withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 2019. Last year, both countries attempted to extend the treaty, but the negotiations resulted in a deadlock as Russia was opposed to the preconditions imposed by former US President Donald Trump. The treaty is now being extended without any preconditions.

The treaty imposes mutual limits on nuclear arms with both countries, which currently hold 90 percent of the world’s stock of such arms. It restricts the number of certain missiles and bombers to 700 and the nuclear warheads on them to 1,550. Moreover, the number of deployed as well as non-deployed missile launchers and heavy bombers is limited to 800. The treaty also has a rigorous verification regime.

The bill to extend the treaty mentions that the treaty’s implementation “would contribute to the development of the nuclear disarmament process and would help to make it multilateral in the future.”

Putin must next sign the bill into law. The approval of the US Congress is not required. After the completion of the extension process by February 5, the treaty will remain in force for five years.