Working Group continues into 118th Congress as threat of nuclear arms race grows with Putin’s suspension of New START Treaty
Friday, February 24, 2023
Washington (February 24, 2023) – Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Representatives Don Beyer (VA-08) and John Garamendi (CA-08), co-chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group, issued the following statement on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, announcing the extension of the bicameral Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group into the 118th Congress:
“Today marks one year since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine, leading to the loss of thousands of innocent lives and massive disruptions to the international system.
“We, the co-Chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group, reiterate our condemnation of Putin’s war of choice and repeated, thinly-veiled threats to use nuclear weapons. As the devastating war rages on, we must help deliver to the people of Ukraine and our NATO allies the appropriate conventional military support needed to repel Russian aggression. Just as importantly, we must work with our international allies and partners to underscore that nuclear weapons use or threats of use by Russia are, as the Group of 20 nations declared in November, ‘inadmissible.’
“In addition, as President Joe Biden has said, even as the United States rallies the world to hold Russia accountable for its brutal and unprovoked war on Ukraine, we must continue to ensure that common-sense limits on U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals remain in place.
“Unfortunately, Russia’s ‘suspension’ of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and its refusal to engage in talks on a New START follow-on agreement exacerbates the danger of an unconstrained arms race – not only between the owners of the world’s two largest nuclear weapons arsenals but also with China. There are no winners – only losers – in a nuclear arms race.
“We urge Russia to reverse course and to return expeditiously to full compliance with New START by resuming on-site inspections and to engage with the United States on concluding a new nuclear arms control framework before the treaty expires on February 5, 2026. Otherwise, the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals will go without limits for the first time since 1972.
“To focus greater attention and build bipartisan support for effective nuclear arms control and disarmament measures, we are today announcing the extension of the bicameral Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group into the 118th Congress. We urge all our colleagues who are concerned about the risks of unconstrained nuclear weapons arsenals to join us in this effort. This working group will continue to encourage the Biden administration to pursue common-sense nuclear arms control with Russia, as well as China, and to advance other overdue nuclear policies and risk reduction measures in order to move towards a future in which nuclear weapons no longer threaten all humanity.”