Russia fully discharged its commitments in 2018 under the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the new START Treaty), First Deputy Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Department Lieutenant-General Viktor Poznikhir said on Wednesday.

“In 2018, Russia fully discharged its commitments and reached the threshold levels for strategic offensive arms stipulated by the treaty,” the general said at a session of the International Affairs Committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

Poznikhir also said that Russia’s latest Avangard hypersonic missile system falls under the provisions of the the new START Treaty.

“The Avangard missile system with the boost glide vehicle is due to enter service and assume combat duty by the end of the year. Considering that the Avangard system is equipped with an intercontinental ballistic missile, it will be subject to all the procedures stipulated by the strategic offensive arms reduction treaty,” the general said at a session of the International Affairs Committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle. The glide vehicle is capable of flying at a hypersonic speed in the dense layers of the atmosphere, maneuvering by its flight path and its altitude and breaching any anti-missile defense.

The new weapon was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018. According to the data of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force, Avangard hypersonic missile systems will enter combat duty at the Dombarovsky missile division in the Orenburg Region in 2019.

As Russia’s Defense Ministry noted, overall, 31 silo-based launchers of the Yars and Avangard missile systems are expected to assume combat duty this year.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) was signed in 2010 and it entered into force on February 5, 2011.

The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers.

The New START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The New START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (i.e. until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent.

Moscow has numerously called on Washington not to delay the issue of the possibility of prolonging the Treaty.

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