Will Russia stop participating in the New START nuclear program?
When will Russia stop participating in the New START nuclear program?
President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia would end its participation in the newly launched nuclear arms reduction treaty.
Putin, in a speech to the nation, said Russia would not withdraw from the agreement but would suspend participation.
Under a major nuclear arms control treaty, both the US and Russia are allowed to inspect each other's weapons sites, but the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended inspections since 2020.
However, the New START treaty remains in effect, having been extended until February 4, 2026 under an earlier agreement between Moscow and Washington.
US officials say Russia has repeatedly refused to inspect its nuclear facilities.
The New START Treaty, signed in Prague in 2010, entered into force the following year and was extended for another five years in 2021 shortly after US President Joe Biden took office.
It limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads the United States and Russia can deploy, as well as the deployment of land and submarine missiles and bombers to deliver them.
Experts say Russia has the world's largest nuclear arsenal with nearly 6,000 warheads.
A US State Department spokesman said in January that "Russia has failed to fulfill its obligations under the New START treaty to facilitate inspections on its territory".
Analysts say Russia's move means it will become more difficult to verify continued compliance with the treaty.
Andrey Baklitskiy of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research said on Twitter: "Suspending the treaty is not equal to leaving the treaty, I don't think there will be Russia's military buildup beyond the limits of the treaty. wish".
"But there will be less opportunity to verify this (national technical means only), so compliance will be contested," he added.
In his speech, Putin said without providing evidence that the West was directly involved in Ukraine's attacks on Russian strategic bomber bases deep inside Russia. .
He said that it is absurd for NATO to ask Russia to allow inspections of its nuclear bases under the New START treaty.
"The US and NATO openly say their goal is to inflict strategic defeat on Russia. And then they'll drive around our defense facilities, including the newest ones, like Can nothing happen?" Putin said.
"A week ago, I signed a decree to put new strategic systems on the ground on duty. Are they going to stick their noses in too? And they think things are simple? We will for what?" they're in there just like that?"
"Russia's refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important treaty rights and threatens the ability to control nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia."