By Steven Nelson
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed an extension of the US-Russia New START nuclear arms control treaty.
The move, confirmed by the Kremlin, was expected after legislation authorizing renewal unanimously passed the Russian parliament.
Putin signed the bill just days after speaking with President Biden about a range of contentious issues, including Russia’s alleged offering of bounties to the Taliban for killing US troops and alleged hacking of US government websites.
The treaty is the lone major arms control deal between the US and Russia. It limits each country to 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed nuclear missiles and bombers.
The extension will last five years and does not require action by the US Congress.
Former President Donald Trump in 2018 announced he would withdraw the US from a different arms control treaty with Russia restricting the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe.
Trump repeatedly floated brokering a major nuclear arms reduction treaty between the US, Russia and China, but the deal never materialized.
The US and Russia own the vast majority of the world’s nuclear weapons. Much smaller arsenals are held by China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.