Date: 24 February 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

Putin Pulls Back From Reset-Era Nuclear Arms Control Deal

What Western countries learned from the recent address of the Russian president is that Moscow is willing to pull back from a nuclear arms control deal. Vladimir Putin indeed said that Moscow is “suspending” its participation in New START, the last remaining nuclear arms reduction deal between the U.S. and Russia since 2010. It is just a formality as Moscow no longer complies with the nuclear deal.


The agreement was signed by then-U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in April 2010 in a U.S. attempt to improve relations with Moscow. The reset policy eventually misled the West. The end of Medvedev’s phony liberal presidency brought Putin back into power in 2012––two years later, Russia seized Crimea and part of Ukraine’s Donbas region. Since then, Russia’s ties with the West decayed. In the past, the Trump administration halted U.S. compliance with another nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, citing Moscow’s noncompliance under the treaty. The Biden administration echoed these claims last year though it said it wanted to preserve or even extend the deal. Under the agreement, Moscow and Washington are committed to deploying no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and a maximum of 700 long-range missiles and bombers. Each side could conduct up to 18 inspections of strategic nuclear weapons sites every year to ensure the other has not breached the treaty’s limits. The United States and Russia were also required to exchange their updated strategic arsenal data every six months. Russia is not complying with its obligation under the New START Treaty to facilitate inspection activities on its territory, according to the U.S. Department of State. Addressing the Federal Assembly on February 21, Putin suddenly announced that Russia was suspending its observation of the New START nuclear arms control. He added U.S. inspections of Russian nuclear weapons were “unacceptable”, though it is one of the provisions of the deal. “The announcement by Russia that it’s suspending participation is deeply unfortunate and irresponsible,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told journalists. That paves the way for a redeveloped nuclear stockpile or even nuclear weapons testing, as suggested by Putin himself.

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