MOSCOW/ANKARA

Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) has gone into effect as of Wednesday.

In a statement, published on its website, the ministry said the treaty will remain in place “exactly as it had been signed, without any amendments or additions” for five years, until Feb. 5, 2026.

“The telephone conversation between the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the U.S. President Joseph Biden on January 26, 2021 became key for this development to proceed,” the ministry said in a statement.

It called Russia and the US as “the world’s largest nuclear nations” that carry “special responsibilities”, and said the “decision taken is important as it guarantees a necessary level of predictability and transparency in this area, while strictly maintaining a balance of interests.”

“We expect that the understanding, reached with Washington regarding the future of the New START Treaty as a cornerstone of international security, would allow to leave behind the trend towards dismantling of arms control and nonproliferation mechanisms, so prevalent in recent years due to U.S. destructive policies,” the statement read.

The ministry stressed that “significant steps” would be required to return Russian – US bilateral dialogue on arms control back to “a more stable trajectory, reach new substantial results” which would strengthen global strategic stability.

“Russia is ready to do its part. We urge the U.S. to apply a similarly responsible approach and to respond to our initiatives in a constructive manner,” it said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the New START’s extension will enable Washington to “monitor Russian compliance with the treaty and provides us with greater insight into Russia’s nuclear posture, including through data exchanges and onsite inspections that allow U.S. inspectors to have eyes on Russian nuclear forces and facilities.”

Underlining that an “unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us all,” the secretary said the extension decision will make the world “safer” as well as the US and its allies.

The first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START I, signed in 1991 between the US and the USSR, took effect in 1994.

In 2010 former US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, signed a successor agreement, called NEW START, which set a limit of no more than 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 missiles, including inspections to verify compliance with the deal. Its expiration date was fixed on Feb.5, 2021.

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