WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today is the official deadline by which the United States and Russia must verify that they have met the limits of the New START Treaty, an agreement by both countries to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear weapons to no more than 1,550 each. Both the Russian and U.S. governments issued statements early this morning confirming they are below New START’s limits, and reaffirmed their commitment to nuclear arms control.
These limits, which were agreed to in 2011, are set to expire in 2021.
Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, issued the following statement:
“New START is working. The steady drawdown of Cold War stockpiles is vital to the national security interests of the United States, and we’re all safer today because of it. That’s why the Treaty enjoys overwhelming political and military support — including from the head and former head of U.S. Strategic Command.
“New START must not be allowed to expire. As we saw again today, New START provides a critical window into Russia’s nuclear capabilities and intentions. These are tools our intelligence community can’t afford to lose and would take billions of dollars and precious years to replace.
“There are still too many nuclear weapons in the world, but New START takes an important step in the right direction. At the stroke of a pen, Trump could extend New START, preserve critical verification tools and strengthen restraints on Russia’s nuclear ambitions for the long haul. This would send a strong signal to the world that the United States does not want a disastrous nuclear arms race, and would set the stage for the next critical step: negotiating a follow-on agreement that cuts deeper into remaining Cold War stockpiles, including so-called ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons that so far have fallen outside of arms control efforts.
“Unfortunately, Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review makes it clear this administration is bent on seeing more nuclear weapons on the planet, not fewer. With plans to develop more kinds of nuclear weapons and expand the scenarios in which they would be used, we are rapidly moving in the wrong direction, and other countries will almost certainly follow suit.”
Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons. It is led by more than 300 eminent world leaders and backed by a half a million citizens worldwide. For more information, please visit www.globalzero.org.