Russia Suspends Participation In New START Nuclear Weapons Treaty
By Bill Galluccio
February 21, 2023
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country is suspending its involvement in the New START nuclear treaty between the two counties. However, Putin noted that Russia is not withdrawing from the pact altogether.
"We are not exiting the agreement," he said. "We are putting a hold on it."
The announcement was made during Putin's annual state-of-the-union speech in Moscow as the invasion of Ukraine approaches its first full year.
The treaty is the only agreement between the two countries to limit their nuclear arsenal and puts limits on the number of intercontinental-range nuclear weapons that each country can have. It also allowed both countries to conduct inspections at nuclear weapon sites, though no inspections have happened since 2020 because of COVID.
The treaty was extended for five years in 2021.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the decision to suspend participation in the treaty "deeply unfortunate and irresponsible."
"You know, when the administration started, we extended New START because it was clearly in the security interest in our country and actually in the security interests of Russia," Blinken said. "And that only underscores what an irresponsible action this is."