U.S. President Joe Biden
will seek a five-year extension to the New START arms
control treaty with Russia,
the White House said.
It is one of the first major foreign policy decisions
of the new administration
ahead of the treaty’s expiration in early February.
“The President has long
been clear that the New
START treaty is in the national security interests of
the United States. And this
extension makes even more
sense when the relationship
with Russia is adversarial
as it is at this time,” White
House press secretary Jen
Psaki said in a briefing.
She also said Biden
had “tasked” the U.S. intelligence community for
its full assessment of the
Solar Winds cyber breach,
Russian interference in the
2020 election, Russia’s use
of chemical weapons against
opposition leader Alexei Navalny and alleged bounties
on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
“Even as we work with
Russia to advance U.S. interests, so too we work to
hold Russia to account for its
reckless and adversarial actions,” Psaki said.
The arms control treaty, which is due to expire
on Feb. 5, limits the United States and Russia to deploying no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads each.
In addition to restricting the number of deployed
strategic nuclear weapons to
its lowest level in decades,
New START also limits the
land- and submarine-based
missiles and bombers that
In a statement, the Pentagon said that Americans
were “much safer” with the
treaty intact and extended.
The Kremlin said it remained committed to extending New START and
would welcome efforts promised by the Biden administration to reach agreement.