The New START, the most ambitious arms control treaty signed between USA and Russia, is almost dead. Who has broken that key pact is the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who in a speech on the state of the nation delivered on Tuesday announced his country’s withdrawal from the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. This occurs in the midst of world war tension almost a year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
I am compelled to announce today that Russia suspends its participation in the treaty on strategic offensive weapons,” he said. putin.
LOOK: “The risk is higher than ever”: What does it mean that Putin suspended the last nuclear disarmament treaty with the US?
The president also added that Russia should prepare to resume nuclear weapons tests if the United States does so.
putin accused the United States and its NATO allies of openly declaring that have the goal of defeating Russia in the Ukrainian war.
“They want to inflict ‘strategic defeat’ on us and at the same time try to break into our nuclear facilities,” held putin.
After his speech, Putin sent a bill on to Parliament on the suspension of the treaty. According to the AP agency, the document establishes that it will be the decision of the Russian president to resume Moscow’s participation in the new START.
Hours after the speech, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the country would abide by the limits on nuclear weapons imposed under the treaty. It will also continue to exchange information on ballistic missile launch tests in accordance with previous agreements signed with the United States.
The Foreign Ministry added that the decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the new START it was reversible, and he urged the United States to reduce tensions and create a propitious environment for the application of the treaty.
This Wednesday, from Warsaw, the President of the United States, Joe Biden said Putin made a “big mistake” when announcing the suspension of Russia’s obligations in the new START.
Already on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had called Putin’s decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.” He added that his country was willing to talk “at any time with Russia, regardless of anything else that happens in the world.”
For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg deplored Putin’s move, saying that “with today’s decision on New START, the architecture of full arms control has been dismantled.”
What is the New START
He Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or New START It was signed on April 8, 2010 by the then President of the United States, Barack Obamaand by his Russian counterpart, Dimitri Medvedev. The pact was signed in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. It entered into force on February 5, 2011.
The pact superseded the START I and START II treaties, signed in 1991 and 1993, respectively, and the more recent Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, signed in 2002.
He new START It had an initial duration of 10 years and was extended in 2021 for five more years.
The treaty establishes that the United States and Russia may dispose of up to 1,550 long-range nuclear warheads, and authorizes the inspection of nuclear facilities. There was a period of seven years to comply with the obligation to reduce nuclear warheads.
According to the Stockholm International Institute for Peace Studies (SIPRI), until 2022 neither of the two powers had reached the agreed reduction. The United States has 1,744 warheads deployed, and Russia 1,588.
However, as the AFP agency points out, the number of nuclear warheads that each country will end up having if the pact is fulfilled is enough to destroy the world several times over.
According to CNN, the new START it also limits the number of launch assets (intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-fired ballistic missiles, and bombers) to 800, and the number of these deployed and ready for use to 700.
CNN recalls that at the height of tension during the Cold War The United States came to have 31,255 nuclear warheads and the Soviet Union with 40,159.
Regarding the inspections, AFP points out that in August 2022 Russia announced the suspension of said US inspections of its military facilities, alleging that that country was hindering visits to its own facilities, something that Washington denied.
Russia it also indefinitely postponed talks on the treaty, which were due to take place in Cairo, accusing the United States of “toxicity and animosity”.
“This is the fourth US-Russian arms control treaty to come to an end during the Putin regime. This announcement is actually the culmination of more than a decade of gradual erosion. It’s hard to see a future for gun control as long as Putin remains in power.” Todd Sechser, a professor at the University of Virginia, told CNN.
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