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U.S., Russia likely to meet nuclear treaty obligations by Feb. 5: State Department

FILE PHOTO: National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States fulfilled its obligations under the New Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia in August last year and expects Moscow also will be within the limits set by the accord by the Feb. 5 deadline, the State Department said on Thursday.

Under the terms of the agreement, which went into force on Feb. 5, 2011, each side had seven years to reach the treaty’s central limits of 700 deployed missiles and bombers, 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers and bombers.

“The United States ... met the central limits of the New Start Treaty in August 2017,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing.

“We assess at this time that Russia has also progressed toward meeting those limits,” Nauert added. “Moscow has repeatedly stated its intention to meet those limits on time and we have no reason to believe that that won’t be the case.”

Nauert said the two sides would exchange data over the next month, as they have regularly done over the course of the past seven years.

“We hope each country will confirm the compliance of the other as soon as possible after this data exchange,” Nauert told the briefing.

Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Susan Thomas