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Putin Suspends Russian Participation in the Nuclear Pact

On the 21st of February 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would be withdrawing from the START III Nuclear treaty, the last remaining nuclear arms control pact between the US and Russia - increasing the tension between the countries over the fighting in Ukraine. 


During his state of the nation address, Putin said that Russia would continue nuclear testing if the U.S. does so, a move that would end the global ban on nuclear weapon tests since the cold war. 


The START III Treaty is a bilateral treaty between the US and Russia that is meant to drastically reduce the deployed nuclear weapons and arsenals of both countries and to continue the weapon reduction efforts that have taken place in the START I and START II treaty. This was signed on the 8th of April 2010 in Prague between then-US President Barack Obama and Russian President Medvedev. 


Under this treaty, the US and Russia are permitted to conduct introspection of each other’s weapons sites, although this inspection has been halted since the pandemic hit the world. According to the treaty, each nation should have less than 1550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. Accordng to the agreement, the two countries can inspect nuclear sites to verify compliancy. In February 2021, one day before the treaty would expire, the two nations agreed to extend it for another 5 years. 


Speaking about his decision, Putin blamed the US and its NATO allies for openly declaring the goal of Russia’s defeat in Ukraine. Putin said, “They want to inflict a strategic defeat on us and try to get to our nuclear facilities at the same time.” 


Putin further added that the U.S. is using this treaty to inspect the nuclear facilities of Russia and NATO allies which have helped Ukraine mount strategic drone attacks on Russian air bases. 


In a statement published online by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that the decision to suspend participation in the treaty was ‘reversible’. They further said that Washington must show political will, make conscientious efforts for a general de-escalation, and create conditions for the resumption of the entire functioning of the Treaty and, accordingly, comprehensively ensuring its viability.”


The ministry asked “the American side to do just that. Until then, any of our steps towards Washington in the context of START are absolutely out of the question.”


On the other hand, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinkens called Putin’s decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible”. Blinken said President Joe Biden’s administration is ready to talk about the nuclear arms “at any time with Russia, irrespective of anything else going on in the world.”

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Tags: #USA #Putin TREATY #START #RussiavsUkraine


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