In a speech on Tuesday that has been highly anticipated by Western nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he is suspending Moscow’s participation in the New START nuclear treaty with the U.S.
According to Reuters, “President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday suspended Russian participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty with the United States, warning Washington that Russia had put new ground-based strategic nuclear weapons on combat duty.”
The move comes a year after Moscow signed a 5-year extension of the treaty. In August, the U.S. accused Russia of violating the treaty due to Moscow not allowing U.S. on-site inspections, which was required under the stipulations of the agreement. In response, the U.S. prevented Russian inspectors from doing the same at American sites.
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At the time, Moscow complained that the U.S. side ” deprived[d] the Russian Federation of the right to conduct inspections on American territory.”
While delivering his remarks on Tuesday, Putin said of the New START treaty, “No one should be under the illusion that global strategic parity can be violated.”
The treaty, which was renewed by both sides for a 5-year period in March 2021, will expire in February 2026 if it is not renewed. The likelihood of renewal between the two nations is dwindling as disputes stemming from Russia’s war in Ukraine have driven Russia-U.S. relations into the ground and have all but destroyed ties between the two nations.
The New START treaty is meant to limit and reduce nuclear arms on both sides. The agreement sets a limit of no more than 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 missiles. The original treaty, START I, began in 1991, with the New START treaty being signed under the Obama and Medvedev administrations in 2010.
Putin’s speech, which is essentially the equivalent of the U.S. president’s State of the Union address, came just after President Joe Biden arrived in Kyiv for a surprise visit.
The majority of Putin’s speech reaffirmed Russia’s resolve to win the war in Ukraine and came at a moment when NATO nations seem more involved in the war than at any other time thus far.
“Step by step, we will carefully and systematically achieve the aims that face us,” Putin said during his address which took place just ahead of the February 24 anniversary of the invasion.
Putin also reiterated Russia’s reasons for starting the war in Ukraine, saying, “Russia did its best to solve the problem in Ukraine peacefully, but the statements of Western leaders turned out to be fraudulent and untrue.” After blaming the West for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin added that Ukraine is part of the “historical Russian land.”
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