Russia Warns Its Too Late to Replace New START Before Expiration

New START limits number of warheads US, Russia can deploy

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is being called the last major nuclear weapons limitation treaty between the US and Russia. By February of 2021, its expiration date, it won’t even be that.

The terms of the treaty limit the number of deployed nuclear warheads either the US or Russia can have at a given time. Russia has been urging talks to extend or replace New START for a long time, and now says it’s just plain too late to get everything done by the expiration date.

An expected replacement treaty would be what everyone was hoping for, but with no work active on it, there is no real chance of getting everything done, and indeed no sign that things will even start, with the US showing little interest in arms limitation talks.

Though Russian Foreign Ministry office’s Vladimir Leontyev says it might be possible to rush through a blanket extension of New START under existing terms, even that would take at least six months to implement, and is made even more complicated by President Trump wanting China to also be limited by any new deal.

China is not a party to New START, though even if they were their entire strategic arsenal is just a fraction of the limits, and thus wouldn’t be impacted in the least. China is effectively an excuse on this matter, and with both the US and Russia looking at developing more nuclear arms, the momentum seems to be behind a new arms race, not a new arms treaty.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.