The nuclear treaty called START was extended for a term of five years by the administration of US President Joe Biden on Wednesday in order to mitigate and prevent an arms race amid increasing tensions between the US and Russia.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, announced the extension of the treaty just a day before its due expiration.
Blinken stated, "President Biden pledged to keep the American people safe from nuclear threats by restoring US leadership on arms control and nonproliferation. The United States is committed to effective arms control that enhances stability, transparency and predictability while reducing the risks of costly, dangerous arms races."
Blinken added that the US will attempt to use the extended five-year term to take a diplomatic course with Russia to discuss the country's nuclear stockpile and to "reduce the dangers from China's modern and growing nuclear arsenal."
Reversing the US policy for Russia under former US President Donald Trump, the newly elected President Joe Biden was transparent about his stance and said the US will be willing to extend the treaty but will start pressing Russia in other necessary areas.
Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, appealed for the release of two US citizens in Russian custody and said, "Releasing them on the heels of extending New START would demonstrate that Russia is ready to move past intractable issues."
The US citizens, whose release was demanded by the White House, are Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan.
NATO, a western alliance originally formed to counter Russian aggression, welcomed the five-year extension of the START nuclear treaty as it would help in preserving international peace and security.
Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO said, "This the beginning, not the end, of an effort to further strengthen international arms control."