WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the extension of the New START Treaty with the Russian Federation for a full five years. New START is the last remaining nuclear arms control agreement between the United States and Russia and imposes equal verifiable limits on deployed strategic nuclear weapons in countries.
In response, Derek Johnson, chief executive officer of the international Global Zero movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, issued the following statement:
“Today’s announcement that New START has been extended for five more years is good for the United States, Russia, and the world. This treaty is the last remaining restraint on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals and represents the line of defense against a full-blown arms race. Allowing it to expire, as the Trump Administration seemed intent to do, would have been a disaster.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of locking in these upper limits on nuclear weapons. New START imposes equal restrictions on U.S. and Russian strategic deployments and provides critical tools for inspection and verification. But this is very least we can do in the face of mounting nuclear risks and we cannot consider this box checked. Extending New START has to be a new beginning, not an end, to U.S. and Russian cooperation to enhance global stability and reduce nuclear dangers.
“With the future of New START secured, the U.S. and Russian governments need to reboot negotiations to address the unacceptably high risks of nuclear conflict. The approach should include not only lower limits on all categories of nuclear weapons, but also controls on other systems that undermine stability and predictability, such as missile defenses, dual-capable missiles, and advanced conventional-strike weapons. The U.S. and Russia must also work quickly to bring China, France, and the United Kingdom into a process that caps and eventually reduces and eliminates global nuclear stockpiles.
“Addressing these complex concerns and getting disarmament back on track will not be easy, but progress often springs from difficult circumstances. At the height of the Cold War, when relations were at their worst, Washington and Moscow found common ground and worked together to end the nuclear arms race and reduce the risk of catastrophic conflict. If they could do it then, there is no reason to believe we can’t make common cause again.”