President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that suspends Russia’s participation in the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START). Document published on the official Internet portal for legal information.
“Suspend the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Measures to Reduce and Further Limit Strategic Offensive Arms, signed in Prague on April 8, 2010,” the decree reads.
The document comes into force on February 28.
Russia and the United States signed START in 2010. The treaty limits the number of nuclear warheads on each side to 1,550 and the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers to 700 In 2021, the treaty was extended for five years. START allows Moscow and Washington to inspect each other’s missile, submarine and air bases. These inspections were halted in 2020 due to the pandemic and have not resumed since.
Putin announced that Russia was suspending its participation in START during his February 21 speech to the Federal Assembly. The president explained this by saying that in “the conditions of today’s confrontation”, the West has no right to participate in inspections of Russian defense installations. According to Putin, Russia will return to the START discussion after understanding “what is claimed” in the area of nuclear weapons by France and Britain, which are also members of the NATO bloc. On February 22, the State Duma and the Federation Council unanimously adopted the law presented by Putin.
At the US State Department considered Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in START is “regrettable” and irresponsible”. President Joe Biden called it a “big mistake”. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken noted that Washington does not did not refuse dialogue with Moscow on the question of nuclear security.
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