Parliament approved the suspension of Russia's participation in the New START treaty

Parliament approved the suspension of Russia's participation in the New START treaty

Parliament approved suspending part of Russia from the New START treaty< /p> In this photo released by the State Duma, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Russian lawmakers attend a session in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, in Moscow, Russia on February 22, 2023.

Moscow – The Russian parliament today approved the suspension of Russia's participation in the New START treaty, which limits the number of nuclear warheads and their carriers. This was reported by Russian press agencies. The relevant bill was first approved by the deputies in the lower chamber – the State Duma, and in the afternoon it was also voted on by the members of the upper chamber – the Council of the Federation. They did so a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in his State of the Union address that Russia was suspending participation in the agreement.

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According to the Interfax agency, the head of the Kremlin submitted the relevant document to the Duma for approval already on Tuesday. The law on the suspension of Russia's participation in the New START Treaty will enter into force on the day of its publication. According to the TASS agency, the decision on the possible renewal of Russia's participation in the agreement will be made by the Russian president.

The aforementioned agreement was signed in 2010 in Prague by the then presidents of the United States and Russia, Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev. Russia has previously refused to cooperate on nuclear weapons inspections, the terms of which are described in this treaty. The New START agreement is considered to be the last significant Russian-American nuclear arms control treaty. It is due to expire in 2026.

“I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending participation in the New START treaty. I repeat, it is not withdrawing from the treaty, but suspending participation,” Putin said on Tuesday. According to him, Russia will resume participation when it receives an explanation of how the treaty will take into account “the total strike arsenal of the North Atlantic Alliance”.

Nevertheless, Russian diplomacy announced in the evening that Moscow will continue to observe the limits anchored in the convention, which limit the nuclear arsenals of the two powers to a maximum of 1,550 strategic nuclear weapons and 700 intercontinental missiles or bombers. The Ministry of Defense also stated today that it intends to continue to follow the restrictions that result from the agreement.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today that Russia's return to participation in the New START treaty will depend on the attitude of the West. “As soon as there is a willingness to take our concerns into account, then the situation will change,” the Kremlin spokesman said, according to TASS. According to him, the initial reaction of the representatives of the “collective West” does not show readiness to act.

Russia's moves have raised concerns in Washington and European capitals, Reuters reported. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Putin's statement irresponsible on Tuesday. “We remain ready to negotiate with Russia at any time on limiting (the number of) strategic weapons, regardless of everything else that is going on in our relationship or in the world,” Blinken said, according to the BBC. According to Washington, it is not clear whether the announcement will have practical consequences.

The Czech Foreign Ministry condemned Putin's decision and called on Moscow to return to fulfilling the agreement. “The New START treaty signed in Prague in 2010 has the merit of strengthening transparency, building trust in the nuclear area and reducing the number of nuclear weapons,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said today. “The Czech Republic condemns Vladimir Putin's decision to suspend the implementation of the treaty and calls on Russia to quickly return to its implementation,” the Czech diplomacy added. accused him of trying to destroy Russia. A few hours after him, US President Joe Biden spoke in Warsaw, declaring that Moscow will never achieve victory in Ukraine. According to the head of the White House, support for Ukraine will not abate. Russia attacked its neighbor militarily almost a year ago, and Western countries support Kiev with, among other things, the supply of weapons.