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Statement from Ernest J. Moniz and Sam Nunn on Announcement of Intent to Extend New START

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"We welcome the announcement that the United States is seeking to extend the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia for an additional five years. This important step will prevent expiration of the treaty on February 5 and send an unmistakable signal of the Biden administration’s commitment to taking practical steps to strengthen U.S. national security and reduce nuclear risks.

Extending New START provides a critical foundation for rebuilding the global arms control architecture to enhance stability and reduce the threats posed by nuclear weapons. An extension to 2026 will preserve the last remaining limits on Russia’s nuclear weapons systems and continue the treaty’s robust verification and inspection regime. It will ensure that Russia’s most powerful weapons—its strategic nuclear arms, including the new Avangard hypersonic vehicle and the Sarmat ICBM—will be subject to the treaty’s limits. And it will provide predictability, as the United States and Russia take on the complex task of negotiating a follow-on agreement and other measures to address the full range of destabilizing weapons, technologies, and systems not covered by New START.

Notwithstanding significant ongoing concerns about Russia’s interference in our elections and reported cyber intrusions into government agencies and businesses, the United States and Russia – which together hold over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons – have a unique responsibility and obligation to work together to further reduce their arsenals and prevent nuclear war. We urge President Biden and President Putin to formalize the five-year extension of New START as soon as possible, and we call on the U.S. Congress to support this agreement on a bipartisan basis. The work to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, ultimately ending them as a threat to the world, must remain high on the priority list of the Biden administration. "

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