Russia and the United States together hold more than 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenal, so it is imperative to maintain civil relations between the two countries to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and eliminate the risk of nuclear war. 

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation has long supported verifiable arms control treaties beginning with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty through the START treaties. With the end of the Soviet Union, we have focused on programs to reduce the nuclear materials in Russia and eliminate nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. One major success was the Nunn-Lugar Cooperate Threat Reduction (CTR) program, which eliminated dangerous fissile material in the former Soviet Union.

Today, with US-Russian relations at a post-Cold War low, and as both countries modernize their nuclear arsenals, the threat of a new nuclear arms race underscores the need for sensible non-proliferation and arms control cooperation. Despite Russia’s clear violation of the agreement, we believe it was premature for the United States to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in August 2019 without exhausting all diplomatic options to salvage it. As relations are strained, we will continue to push the Trump administration to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) between the United States and Russia beyond its potential expiration in February 2021. To do otherwise is reckless and dangerous, and will certainly lay the groundwork for a new arms race.

 

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