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Putin says Russia, U.S. to launch nuclear arms control talks

06/16/2021 | 01:57pm EDT

GENEVA, June 16 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow and Washington had agreed to launch nuclear arms control talks to build on the New START treaty, a cornerstone of global arms control.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting in Geneva with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, Putin said the two sides were aware of their special responsibility for global strategic stability and the important role of the treaty, extended by the two countries at the eleventh hour earlier this year.

"I think it is clear to everyone that President Biden has made the responsible and, in our view, perfectly timely decision to extend the New START treaty for five years, which means until 2024," Putin said.

"Of course, that begs the question of what happens next," Putin said. He said arms control discussions would be launched and held at the inter-agency level.

The two parties also adopted a joint declaration, reaffirming their commitment to the principle "that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and that it must never be fought," the document, shared on the Kremlin website, said.

The declaration also referenced the new talks, which it described as aimed at laying the foundations for future arms control.

Signed in 2010, the New START treaty limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers that Russia and the United States can deploy.

Due to expire earlier this year, the deal was extended by Moscow and Washington in January and February respectively, for five more years.

The treaty restricts the United States and Russia to deploying no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads each. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; writing by Polina Ivanova; editing by Andrew Osborn)

ę Reuters 2021
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