Washington – Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and a group of their colleagues sent a letter urging President Donald Trump to use the upcoming meeting in Helsinki, Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin to reinvigorate the strategic arms control and stability dialogue between the two nations.
Specifically, in a letter sent today, the Senators calls on President Trump to express America’s interest in extending the New START Treaty – the only, remaining arms control treaty capping Russia’s most dangerous nuclear weapons – for an additional five years. They also call on the President to urge President Putin to quickly resolve Russia’s ongoing noncompliance with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Russia has fielded an intermediate range ballistic missile that is not treaty-compliant. And the Senators also call for the United States and Russia to begin discussing how emerging technologies could affect strategic stability or how to place caps on the number of tactical nuclear weapons each country may deploy.
“As the nations with the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world, it is imperative that we cooperate to reduce the risk of nuclear war,” write the Senators in the letter to President Trump. “Mr. President, you have an opportunity to reinvigorate a crucial part of the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship in spite of its other, overall challenges at present. In the face of these tensions, your leadership will be instrumental to rebuilding our existing strategic arms control and stability dialogue, maintaining arms control treaties imperative to American and global security, and creating new opportunities to expand upon these important efforts with Russia.”
A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found here.
In addition to Feinstein and Markey, the letter was also signed by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
The New START Treaty reduces the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by 74 percent from the 6,000 deployed warheads limit in the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The INF Treaty eliminates all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kilometers.