Putin signs bill to suspend final nuclear weapons ban treaty with US

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed measures to formally suspend the last remaining nuclear weapons deal with the United States amid mounting tensions over the war in Ukraine.

According to the bill he signed, Russia will no longer participate in the New START Treaty. It was published by the Kremlin. The document states that it will be up to the president to decide whether Moscow can return to the deal.

In a speech a week ago, Putin had declared that Moscow was suspending its participation in the 2010 New START Treaty. He accused Russia of being unable to accept US inspections of its nuclear facilities under the agreement at a time when Washington and its NATO allies openly declared Russia’s defeat in Ukraine as their goal. .

Both houses of parliament quickly ratified Putin’s bill on a moratorium on the deal last week. On Tuesday, President Putin signed it into effect immediately.

Putin stressed that Moscow would not completely withdraw from the agreement, and Russia’s foreign ministry said the country would respect the nuclear weapons cap set under the treaty and notify the United States of the ballistic missile test launch. said to continue.

“As of today, Russia is suspending its participation in the Strategic Offensive Weapons Treaty,” Putin said in a national address last week. “We are pausing [our participation in] that. “

On Monday, a federal official in charge of arms control criticized Russia for not being a responsible nuclear partner after Putin’s speech.

“Just a few days ago, President Putin announced that Russia was unilaterally suspending the implementation of the New START Treaty. Bonnie Jenkins, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, said. Said UN conference in Geneva, according to Reuters.

Purpose of the treaty

The treaty, signed in 2010 by then-Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, limits countries to deploy 1,550 nuclear warheads and 700 missiles and bombers. We envision a thorough on-site inspection to confirm. President Joe Biden said he will sign another five-year extension to the treaty in early 2021.

Testing has been suspended since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Talks to resume the talks were supposed to take place in November last year, but Russia abruptly canceled them.

The Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation estimates that Russia’s arsenal consists of about 5,977 nuclear warheads, while the United States currently has about 5,550 nuclear warheads.

A military expert walks past a Russian Topol Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) at the exhibition grounds of the Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow on the first day of the International Military Technical Forum ARMY 2017, August 22, 2017.  (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)
Military experts pass in front of Russia’s Topol Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) at the Kubinka Patriot Park exhibition grounds outside Moscow on August 22, 2017. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

A few weeks ago, the State Department informed Congress that Moscow had stopped participating in the New START Treaty since the start of the Ukraine war.

“Russia’s refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising its key rights under the treaty and threatens the survival of U.S.-Russia nuclear weapons control,” the State Department reported Jan. 31. mentioned in the letter (pdf).

Despite Russia’s recent moves, the official report said the United States “continues to assess that there are no strategic imbalances between the United States and the Russian Federation that jeopardize U.S. national security interests.” there is,” he pointed out.

“The United States maintains sufficient safe, reliable, and effective nuclear arsenals to deter strategic aggression, guarantee allies and partners, and respond should an enemy attack occur,” the report said. said the currently suspended treaty “will continue. It will curb Russia’s strategic nuclear forces and provide insight into the Russian military.”

This is developing news. The Associated Press contributed to this report.