Russia Suspends New START Treaty
President Vladimir Putin suspends nuclear arms treaty with the US and says Russia will carry out nuclear tests as Washington is planning tests too
In his annual State of the Nation address to the Russian people, Tuesday, at the 17th century Old Merchant Court near the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin suspended the bilateral nuclear arms control treaty with the United States and warned that Moscow could resume nuclear tests.
Receiving loud applauses from members of the Federal Assembly, military, civil service, business, religious, civic and cultural groups that attended the event. Putin explained the decision for the suspension stating that the agreement was initially drawn up under completely different circumstances, when Russia and the US did not perceive each other as adversaries. Now, however, according to the president, not only is the US issuing ultimatums to Russia, but NATO itself has essentially made an application to become part of the treaty as well.
“The bloc members are now demanding an inspection of Russia’s strategic facilities,” Putin said, noting that Moscow’s requests to inspect Western nuclear facilities under the treaty are systematically denied with only formal explanations for the rejection.
Putin noted that the US has continued to insist on maintaining hegemony, while its NATO partners openly admit that they want to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.
“Russia cannot ignore this. We cannot allow ourselves to ignore this,” he said.
“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 added.
Russian soldiers display the RS-24 Yars long-range nuclear missile during the annual Victory Day military parade. © Global Look Press via ZUMA Press / Kremlin Pool
The New START Treaty limited both sides to 1,550 warheads on deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine ballistic missiles and heavy bombers. Both sides met the central limits by 2018.
The Russian leader, citing Russian intelligence reports said that some people in Washington were thinking about resuming nuclear testing. Russia’s defence ministry and nuclear corporation should therefore be ready to test Russian nuclear weapons if necessary, he said.
“Of course, we will not do this first. But if the United States conducts tests, then we will. No one should have dangerous illusions that global strategic parity can be destroyed,” Putin said.
Speaking for one hour and 45 minutes below a large emblem bearing the two-headed eagle of Russia, and flanked by a total of eight tricolour Russian flags, Putin vowed to continue with the special military operation in the Donbass. He stated that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine was launched as a pre-emptive measure.
Putin argued that after the US and NATO rejected Russia’s mutual security proposals in December 2021, “it became clear that they had greenlighted [Kiev’s] aggressive plans.” The Russian leader added that Ukraine’s Western backers were preparing the country “for a big war.”
“The threat was growing day by day. The information we were receiving left no doubt that by February 2022, everything was ready for another bloody punitive action in Donbass,” Putin said.
“I want to repeat: they started the war. And we have used and are using force to end it.”
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics broke away from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. The Ukrainian authorities first unsuccessfully tried to subdue the rebellions by force, and later instituted an economic blockade.