Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill extending the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States a week before the pact was due to expire. This is reported by AP.
The Russian Parliament voted unanimously to extend the New START treaty for five years. Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden had discussed the nuclear accord a day earlier, and the Kremlin said they agreed to complete the necessary extension procedures in the next few days.
New START expires on February 5. The pact’s extension doesn’t require congressional approval in the U.S., but Russian lawmakers had to ratify the move. Russian diplomats said the extension will be validated by exchanging diplomatic notes once all the procedures are completed.
The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.
Biden indicated during the U.S. presidential campaign that he favored the preservation of New START, which was negotiated during his tenure as Vice President under Barack Obama.
Earlier this month, Russia announced that it would follow the U.S. in pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, which allowed surveillance flights over military facilities to help build trust and transparency between Russia and the West.