Increased tension between the United States and Russia, coupled with policy uncertainty in Washington, has thrown the nuclear arms agreement’s extension into doubt.
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A five-year extension will preserve the treaty's benefits and provide more time for negotiations regarding Russia's new weapons systems.
The last treaty that limits the United States’s and Russia’s nuclear weapons, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), will expire in February 2021 unless both states agree to its extension. Opponents of extension, including some U.S. officials, have argued against extending the treaty by citing Russia’s new, developmental strategic weapons, which they claim will not be covered by the treaty. Yet the reality is more complex.