October 4, 2023

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Putin: “Russia Terminates Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty With US” |  War Ukraine and Russia

Putin: “Russia Terminates Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty With US” | War Ukraine and Russia

Russia has suspended its participation in ‘New START’, the last major nuclear disarmament treaty with the US signed by the two countries in 2002, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in his state of the country address in Moscow on Tuesday.

In his speech, Putin said he was “forced” to do so because the West possessed “more nuclear weapons” than Russia. He stressed that this was not a withdrawal from the agreement, but a suspension. He also said that Russia should be ready if the US conducts a nuclear test first.

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

New START (New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, ed.) is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between the superpowers, which entered into force on February 5, 2011. The agreement also limits the nuclear arsenals of both Russia and the United States to 800 carrier systems and 1,550 operational warships each. That’s 30 percent less than the deal’s predecessor signed in 2002.

The agreement initially had a ten-year term and was extended for five years in January 2021 by Putin and US President Joe Biden.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during his State of the Nation Address in Moscow today. © AB

The tests were put on hold

Moscow has previously blocked inspections that would award the deal. Russia has also accused the US of thwarting probes. Talks between the U.S. and Moscow to resume those studies have been repeatedly postponed. The two sides last talked about it in October 2021.

In January this year, the United States accused Russia of possessing strategic nuclear weapons exceeding the maximum limits set by the treaty.

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Fear of an arms race

Russia and the United States together possess 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. Without an extension, there are fears of an arms race and rising tensions between Moscow and Washington.

The answer is the NATO boss

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg regretted Russia’s decision to end its participation in New START. He said this during a press conference held today at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

“In recent years, Russia has withdrawn from and violated major arms control agreements,” Stoltenberg said. “With the New START decision, the entire arms control framework has been dismantled. I strongly advise Russia to reconsider its decision and respect existing agreements.