Welcomes efforts to hold Putin accountable for transgressions while seeking cooperation to tackle existential threat of nuclear weapons
Washington (June 16, 2021)  Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, released the following statement today on the bilateral summit between President Joseph R. Biden and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in Geneva, Switzerland.
“America’s back under President Biden. The President has charted a new course for the bilateral relationship with Russia - one that does not shy away from firmly standing up to Vladimir Putin and his government’s transgressions, here at home and abroad,” said Senator Markey.  “Building back a better foreign policy requires taking on autocrats like Putin as he stifles domestic opposition, invades and threatens neighbors, and weaponizes cyberspace. However, as the U.S.-Russian Joint Statement shows, good relations need not be a prerequisite to seek stable and predictable relations with Russia. It is due to our many disagreements with Russia, not in spite of them, that we must cooperate on shared security concerns, particularly when it comes to efforts to arrest the existential threat of nuclear weapons.”
“I am pleased that the leaders’ Joint Statement echoes the 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev declaration, also in Geneva, that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’ and committed to launch a bilateral strategic stability dialogue.  It is vital that the two major nuclear weapons powers start negotiations on a follow-on agreement to the New START Treaty to avoid repeating the brinkmanship of the Cold War. We have a responsibility to the world to reduce the role and number of weapons of annihilation and a responsibility at home to spare U.S. taxpayers the $634 billion bill that will come due this decade on unneeded nuclear weapons programs. I also welcome the agreement to hold consultations to prevent a cyber-arms race. We must expand that work to negotiate stronger international cyber norms so attacks originating in Russia and elsewhere, that steal our data, disrupt our food supply, and cut off our energy supply, do not become normalized as a weapon of choice in the years to come.”

Last week, Senator Markey and Representative Jim McGovern (MA-2) reintroduced the Hastening Arms Limitations Act (HALT Act), which among other recommendations, calls upon the United States and Russia to launch into follow on negotiations to the New START Treaty to seek a treaty or agreement that covers new types of strategic nuclear weapons as well as non-strategic nuclear weapons.  In April, Senator Markey and fellow co-chairs of the bicameral Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group wrote to President Biden urging his Administration to reengage with Russia on the same type of “regular, extensive, comprehensive dialogue” on strategic issues that Presidents Biden and Putin announced today.