Russia’s parliament approves extension of New START treaty
Russian lawmakers passed a five-year extension of the New START treaty with the U.S. on Wednesday just ahead of the nuclear arms control pact’s expiration next month.
The Associated Press reported that both houses of Russia’s parliament voted quickly to approve a bill extending the treaty, which President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign into law.
The unanimous votes came after President Biden discussed the extension during a phone call with Putin on Tuesday and followed comments by Russia’s top diplomat in Vienna earlier in the day expressing confidence that negotiations were moving quickly.
The New START treaty, signed under the Obama administration, governs the number of nuclear warheads the two countries deploy at any time. It is the last major arms pact between the two Cold War-era powers.
Biden had urged the Trump administration to pursue an extension of the treaty during the campaign, but former President Trump insisted that China be included in any new pact and talks stalled.
Biden also spoke with Russia’s president on Tuesday about a range of issues including the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, a top Putin critic, as well as cyberattacks on U.S. agencies, according to a White House readout of the conversation.
U.S. officials revealed last year that Russia was likely responsible for a massive cyberattack that struck the Treasury Department as well as other agencies.
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