Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced the suspension of his country’s compliance with START III or New START, the last nuclear disarmament treaty still in force between Russia and the United States.
“I have to announce that Russia is suspending its participation in the new START treatyPutin said in his state of the nation address. “No one should have the illusion that global strategic parity can be violated”.
The pact, signed in 2011 and renewed for five years in 2021 limit the number of long-range nuclear warheads that can be deployed and the use of missiles capable of carrying atomic weapons, but Moscow has not complied with allowing routine inspections on its territory.
Putin said Russia had not yet fully withdrawn from the treaty, but was instead suspending its participation, but called on military commanders to be prepared to resume nuclear weapons testing if the United States does so first.
The agreement limits the arsenals of the two countries to a maximum of 1,550 warheads deployed on each side, a reduction of almost 30% from the previous limit, set in 2002. It also limits the number of launchers and heavy bombers at a maximum of 800, still enough volume to destroy human life on Earth.
In 2020, the inspections had to be stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, when the conditions were met again to resume said activity, Russia has refused since last August to resume these visits.in part because of tensions between the two powers over the war in Ukraine.
“A week ago, I signed an executive order on the commissioning of new strategic ground systems. Are they going to put their nose in it too or what? And do you think everything is so simple? What, are we just gonna let them in?“, he added, referring to the ban on inspections.
Putin has repeatedly made veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, rekindling Cold War-era fears. On Tuesday, he also accused the United States of “developing new types of nuclear weapons.”
He warned that if the United States tested new nuclear weapons, so would Russia. He instructed the Ministry of Defense and the national nuclear energy company Rosatom to ensure the country’s “preparedness” for nuclear weapons testing. “Of course, we won’t be the first to do so,” he said.
Shortly after his inauguration, US President Joe Biden extended New START by five years, to 2026, allowing time for negotiations and preserving what the Democratic administration considers an important existing treaty.
During his long-awaited speech, Putin renewed accusations against the West on Tuesday, blaming him for the invasion he ordered in Ukraine. “They are the ones who started the war. And we are using force to end it,” Putin said. “The responsibility for fueling the Ukrainian conflict, for its escalation, for the number of casualties… lies entirely with Western elites,” he said. .
According to him, the West wants to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia in Ukraine. “They want to end (Russia) once and for all”said the head of the Kremlin.
Furthermore, he said the bloc knows that “it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield”, so it launches “aggressive information attacks” against Russia by “distorting historical facts”, attacking Russian culture, religion and values.
But he gave no sign of easing the conflict. On the contrary, he said he would continue the invasion step by step. “To ensure the security of our country, to eliminate the threat posed by the neo-Nazi regime that emerged in Ukraine after the 2014 coup, it was decided to carry out a special military operation. Step by step, with care and consistency, we will accomplish the tasks facing us,” Putin said in his state of the nation address to both houses of parliament.
“I speak to you at a difficult and key time for our country, at a time of profound changes in the world,” Putin told senior Russian officials and political elites.
(With information from AFP and EFE)
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