The New START nuclear arms-control treaty is officially extended through Feb. 5, 2026, giving the U.S. time to pursue more arms control agreements with Russia, and possibly with China, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Wednesday in a press release.
“The United States will use the time provided by a five-year extension of the New START Treaty to pursue with the Russian Federation, in consultation with Congress and U.S. allies and partners, arms control that addresses all of its nuclear weapons,” Blinken said in the written statement. “We will also pursue arms control to reduce the dangers from China’s modern and growing nuclear arsenal.”
The dam burst last week on New START, when the Biden administration officially offered a five-year, no-strings-attached extension that Moscow quickly accepted.
New START lets the U.S. and Russia deploy no more than 1,550 warheads across 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers, while possessing no more than 800 deployed and non-deployed bombers, intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, and submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers. Bombers count as single warheads, under the treaty.
The Trump administration wanted to condition a New START extension on Russia’s willingness to make overtures to China to negotiate a new trilateral arms control treaty that would constrain both Beijing’s growing nuclear arsenal and Russia’s stockpile of shorter-range and novel nuclear weapons.
Russia declined to make overtures to the obstinate China — which had refused to join negotiations and said its arsenal is much smaller than Moscow’s or Washington’s — and countered with a one-year New START extension that the Trump administration did not accept.