WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 4, 2021)— “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today. Secretary Blinken and Minister Lavrov discussed the New START extension and the need for new arms control that addresses all of Russia’s nuclear weapons and the growing threat from China.”
“The Secretary reiterated President Biden’s resolve to protect American citizens and act firmly in defense of U.S. interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies. This includes the release of Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed so that they are able to return home to their families in the United States. The Secretary raised Russian interference in the 2020 United States election, its military aggression in Ukraine and Georgia, the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny, and the SolarWinds incident, among other issues. The Secretary and the Minister committed to continued discussion on issues of mutual concern.”
President Joseph Biden pledged to keep the American people safe from nuclear threats by restoring U.S. leadership on arms control and nonproliferation. Today, the United States took the first step toward making good on that pledge when it extended the New START Treaty with the Russian Federation for five years.
Extending the New START Treaty ensures we have verifiable limits on Russian ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers until February 5, 2026. The New START Treaty’s verification regime enables us 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. The United States has assessed the Russian Federation to be in compliance with its New START Treaty obligations every year since the treaty entered into force in 2011.
Especially during times of tension, verifiable limits on Russia’s intercontinental-range nuclear weapons are vitally important. Extending the New START Treaty makes the United States, U.S. allies and partners, and the world safer. An unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us all.
President Biden has made clear that the New START Treaty extension is only the beginning of our efforts to address 21st century security challenges. The United States will use the time provided by a five-year extension of the New START Treaty to pursue with the Russian Federation, in consultation with Congress and U.S. allies and partners, arms control that addresses all of its nuclear weapons. We will also pursue arms control to reduce the dangers from China’s modern and growing nuclear arsenal. The United States is committed to effective arms control that enhances stability, transparency and predictability while reducing the risks of costly, dangerous arms races.
Just as we engage the Russian Federation in ways that advance American interests, like seeking a five-year extension of New START and broader discussions to reduce the likelihood of crisis and conflict, we remain clear eyed about the challenges that Russia poses to the United States and the world. Even as we work with Russia to advance U.S. interests, so too will we work to hold Russia to account for adversarial actions as well as its human rights abuses, in close coordination with our allies and partners.
Source: State Department and the US Embassy in Georgia contributed to this article.