Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law on Friday extending the New START treaty, the last piece of arms control between the US and Russia. Putin signed the extension after both houses of Russia’s parliament voted unanimously in favor of extending New START on Wednesday.
The Kremlin said in a statement that the bill signed by Putin extends the treaty until February 5th, 2026. “The extension of the treaty is in line with Russia’s national interests as it makes it possible to maintain transparency and predictability in strategic relations between Russia and the US,” the statement said.
The New START limits the number of missiles, bombers, and nuclear warheads each power can have deployed. First signed in April 2010 and entered into force in 2011, the New START was due to expire this February.
The fate of the vital treaty was uncertain after the Trump administration failed to reach an agreement with Russia on extending it. President Trump’s envoy for arms control made additional demands of the Russians, while Moscow repeatedly offered the five-year extension.
Putin and President Biden agreed to extend the treaty in their first phone call on Tuesday. Extending New START does not require congressional approval in the US. Only Russian lawmakers had to ratify the move.
While the extension is a good step for US-Russia relations, the Biden administration is maintaining a hostile stance towards Russia. According to the White House, during the phone call, President Biden hurled all sorts of accusations at Putin, including the completely unsubstantiated claim that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan.