Putin suspends nuclear treaty with US, accuses West of stoking global war to destroy Russia
In his State of the Nation address, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday vowed to continue with Russia’s year-long ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, accused Ukraine and the West of starting the war, and said Russia was suspending participation in New START, the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the US.
According to experts, Russia has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, close to 6,000 warheads. Together, the country and the US hold about 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads – sufficient to destroy planet Earth several times over.
The New START Treaty, which was due to expire in 2026, limited the number of nuclear warheads the two countries can deploy.
In his address to the Federal Assembly, which was the first since 2021, Putin – without citing evidence – said that some people in Washington were thinking about restarting nuclear testing. “Of course, we will not do this first,” he mentioned, adding “but if the US conducts tests, then we will.”
Putin’s speech came just three days before the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and also a day after his US counterpart, Joe Biden, made a surprise visit to Kyiv, during which he pledged fresh arms deliveries and persistent support.
It also came as top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi was due in Moscow with proposals for a political settlement to the brutal conflict, while Kyiv stresses that any diplomatic solution must necessitate the withdrawal of Russian forces from its territory.
While the 70-year-old Kremlin chief said defeating Russia was impossible, Western sanctions imposed in response to the war have brought Russia’s economy under massive pressure, triggering scores of residents to complain about the high cost of living.