Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced that Moscow is suspending its participation in New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia.
“In this regard, I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty,” Putin said in a state of the nation address delivered to Russia’s Federal Assembly.
New START was first signed in 2010 by then-President Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as the deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, and replaced the START I Treaty that was signed in 1991.
New START came into force in 2011 and caps the deployment of nuclear warheads at 1,550. It also places limits on the deployment of launchers, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers.
New START was set to expire in February 2021, but Putin and President Biden agreed in January 2021 to extend the agreement by five years. According to the State Department, inspections under the treaty have been suspended since March 2020 due to Covid-19.
Explaining his reasoning for suspending the treaty, Putin said it was signed at a time when the US was less hostile. He also wants to address the issue of the UK and France’s nuclear weapons, which are part of NATO’s arsenal, although both countries have significantly smaller arsenals than the US and Russia.
“Before we return to discussing this agreement, we must understand for ourselves what the intentions of countries like France and the UK are and how we will consider their strategic arsenals as well, which is the cumulative striking potential of NATO,” Putin said, according to RT.
Putin’s move is the result of the lack of diplomacy between the US and Russia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has only held one known call with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, since Russia launched the invasion on February 24, 2022, and the discussion was focused on a prisoner swap, not the war or arms control….