(Headline USA) Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended Moscow’s participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States, moving the two countries that much closer to nuclear confrontation.
Putin’s announcement, made Tuesday in his state-of-the-nation address, would suspend Moscow’s participation in the New START Treaty.
The pact, signed in 2010 by the U.S. and Russia, caps the number of long-range nuclear warheads the two sides can deploy and limits the use of missiles that can carry atomic weapons.
Putin also said Russia should stand ready to resume nuclear weapons tests if the U.S. does so, a move that would end a global ban on such tests in place since the Cold War era.
Putin’s announcement comes on the heels of President Joe Biden making a surprise visit to Ukraine and announcing a new $500 million weapons package for Kyiv—also making pundits scratch their heads by pledging “700 tanks,” when the U.S. has only officially pledged to send 31 Abrams tanks thus far.
Putin said in his address that both his country and Ukraine are victims of Western governments’ desire to continue the war.
“We aren’t fighting the Ukrainian people,” Putin said ahead of the war’s first anniversary Friday. “The Ukrainian people have become hostages of the Kyiv regime and its Western masters, which have effectively occupied the country.”
The speech reiterated a litany of grievances he has frequently offered as justification for the widely condemned military campaign while vowing no military letup in a conflict that has reawakened Cold War fears.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Moscow’s decision as “really unfortunate and very irresponsible.”
However, neither Blinken nor any other U.S. diplomat have called for a cease fire or peace negotiations.
In fact, Biden has called for regime change in Moscow, while numerous U.S. officials have thrown their support behind Ukraine retaking Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Moreover, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview published earlier this month that the Biden administration actively sabotaged peace talks he attempted to broker last year.
Legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh further demonstrated the Biden administration’s provocations this month in a blockbuster article, which details how Biden ordered the Pentagon and CIA to devise a plan to explode Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines last September.
Biden gave his own speech later Tuesday. He did not directly respond to Putin’s decision to suspend participation in the arms treaty.
Biden warned that there were “hard and bitter days ahead,” but pledged that the United States and its allies would “have Ukraine’s back” as the war enters its second year.
“Democracies of the world will stand guard over freedom today, tomorrow and forever,” he said at the Royal Castle, a historical landmark in Warsaw, before a cheering crowd of Polish citizens and Ukrainian refugees.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that Biden’s address was not intended as “some kind of head to head” with Putin’s.
“This is not a rhetorical contest with anyone else,” he said.
On Wednesday, Biden plans to meet again with Duda along with other leaders of the Bucharest Nine, a group of the easternmost members of NATO military alliance.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.
Headline USA staff writer Ken Silva contributed to this report. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.