Russian parliament quickly passed a five-year extension to the final nuclear U.S.-Russia arms control treaty Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) January 27, 2021
Both lower and upper houses of the Russian parliament unanimously voted to approve a bill that would extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the Associated Press reported. This agreement came one day after a phone call between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin is expected to sign the bill into law, according to the Associated Press. The New START treaty was signed under the Obama administration in 2010. It ensures neither country deploys more than 1,550 nuclear warheads and 700 missiles and bombers.
The New START treaty expires Feb. 5. During their phone call, Biden also reportedly pressed Putin on the alleged Russian cyberattack on the U.S. government through a software company Solar Winds, as well as Putin arresting his political rival Alexei Navalny.
Putin hailed the extension as “a step in the right direction” while speaking during the World Economic Forum’s virtual meeting, according to the AP.
House Minority Speaker Kevin McCarthy had criticized Biden’s desire to extend the nuclear arms deal earlier in January, saying it would weaken the country’s “national security posture.”
President Donald Trump had engaged Russia in talks about extending the treaty back in June, but his insistence that China be included stunted any progress. (RELATED: Rubio Criticizes McKinsey For Prohibiting Employees From Protesting Against Russia, Demands To Know If Kremlin Was Involved)
Valentina Matvienko, Russia’s upper house speaker, claimed this agreement proves both countries can make progress on serious issues despite tensions, according to the Associated Press.
The New START is the only nuclear arms control pact still in tact between the U.S. and Russia. Trump withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019.