04:22 GMT14 May 2021
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    LEIPZIG (Sputnik) - Berlin believes that it's particularly important to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) after the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.

    Speaking at a news conference following his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Leipzig, Maas said that "an important element of European security disappeared" after the termination of the INF Treaty.

    "This is even more important today that the New START Treaty be extended. We share the US view that the issue of arms control and disarmament should have an international dimension. Among other things, of course, it should be discussed with China to take into account global realities", Maas said.

    The New START is the last remaining arms control treaty in force between Russia and the United States. It stipulates that the number of strategic nuclear missiles launchers must be cut by half and limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550.

    The agreement is set to expire in February 2021, and Washington has so far not announced plans to extend it.

    The 1987 INF treaty required the United States and Russia to eliminate and permanently forswear all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310-3,417 miles).

    On 2 August, the INF was officially abandoned, half a year after the United States announced the unilateral suspension of its obligations due to the alleged violation of the treaty by Russia. Moscow continues to deny these accusations.

    In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by signing a decree on suspending Moscow's participation in the accord as well.


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