The US State Department released this Tuesday (5), for the first time in four years, the number of nuclear bombs that the country stores after former President Donald Trump censored the data.
On September 30, 2020, the US Army maintained 3,750 active and inactive nuclear warheads, 55 less than the previous year and 72 less than the same date in 2017. The number is also the lowest since the US nuclear arsenal reached its peak at the height of the Cold War, in 1967, when 31,255 warheads were counted.
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The inventory was released amid an effort by the Joe Biden government to resume arms control talks with Russia after they were stalled by Trump.
“Increasing the transparency of states’ nuclear reserves is important to non-proliferation and disarmament efforts,” said the State Department.
Donald Trump and Putin during G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, in 2019 — Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev/AP
Trump also withdrew from another crucial agreement, the New Start Treaty, frozen last year before its expiration on February 5th. The document limits the number of nuclear warheads held by Washington and Moscow, and allowing them to expire could have reversed the reduction in warheads by both countries.
Trump said he wanted a new deal, which would include China, which has only a fraction of the warheads of the United States and Russia. Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, immediately proposed a five-year extension to the treaty, to which Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly agreed.
Last week, Russian and American diplomats held closed-door talks in Geneva to begin discussing a treaty to succeed New Start and conventional arms control.
According to a January 2021 calculation by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which includes retired warheads (not included in State Department figures), the United States had 5,550 warheads, compared to Russia’s 6,255, 350 from China, 225 from Great Britain and 290 from France. India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea together had about 460 nuclear warheads, according to the institute.
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