Western Morning News

Russia approves nuclear arms pact

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RUSSIAN politician­s have approved the extension of the last remaining nuclear arms control pact days before it was due to expire.

Both houses of parliament voted unanimousl­y to extend the New START treaty for five years.

The vote came a day after a phone call between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which they voiced satisfacti­on with the exchange of diplomatic notes about extending the treaty.

They agreed to complete the necessary procedures in the next few days, according to the Kremlin.

Speaking via video link to the World Economic Forum’s virtual meeting, Mr Putin hailed the decision to extend the treaty as “a step in the right direction”, but warned of rising global rivalries and threats of new conflicts.

The pact’s extension does not require congressio­nal approval in the US, but Russian politician­s must ratify the move and Mr Putin has to sign the relevant Bill into law.

New START expires on February 5. After taking office last week, Mr Biden proposed extending the treaty for five years, and the Kremlin quickly welcomed the offer.

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