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Why ‘New START’ Nuclear Treaty Split Biden From Trump

Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 25.

Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 25.

Photographer: Doug Mills/The New York Times

The last remaining nuclear-arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia is on track for a five-year extension. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to extend so-called New START in their first exchange since Biden took office on Jan. 20. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had sought to renegotiate the deal, which is due to expire on Feb. 5. He wasn’t alone, as policy makers across the political spectrum have called for improvements.

The U.S. and Russia signed New START -- also called the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty -- in 2010, to replace the 1991 START treaty. New START took effect on Feb. 5, 2011, and included wording allowing the two parties to extend it for five more years. Under the accord, the U.S. and Russia both committed to reducing deployed nuclear warheads (which are capped at 1,550 each) and limiting the number of delivery platforms such as submarine launchers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers. The agreement also allows each country to conduct on-site inspections of each other’s weaponry and requires the exchange of data and notification concerning covered arms and facilities.