Nuclear

Russia’s Federation Council moves to approve suspension of New START treaty

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Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, approved the suspension of the New START nuclear arms treaty on Wednesday, Russian state news agencies reported.

Earlier, Russia’s lower house, the State Duma, also approved the decision, which President Vladimir Putin had announced in a major speech on Tuesday.

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Officials lined up to blame the United States and the West for the breakdown of the last remaining nuclear pact between Washington and Moscow.

Putin announced the suspension in a major national address on Tuesday, as US President Joe Biden vowed to keep supporting and standing up for Kyiv as the first anniversary of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine approaches on Friday.

In a session on Wednesday morning, Russia’s State Duma, the lower house, voted to approve the suspension of the treaty.

Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council, said the move was a “long overdue” response to the United States and NATO effectively declaring war on Russia.

“This decision was forced on us by the war declared by the United States and other NATO countries on our country. It will have a huge resonance in the world overall and in the United States in particular,” Medvedev said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Medvedev also called for the nuclear arsenals of Britain and France to be included in future arms control agreements between Russia and the West.

Blame

Before passing the vote, the speaker of Russia’s Duma Vyacheslav Volodin also blamed the United States for the breakdown.

“By ceasing to comply with its obligations and rejecting our country’s proposals on global security issues, the United States destroyed the architecture of international stability,” Volodin said in a statement.

Russia’s moves have sparked concern in Washington and European capitals.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who oversees Russia’s arms control diplomacy with the United States, said on Wednesday that the possible resumption of the treaty depended on Washington, as he also said Moscow was keeping a
close eye on NATO’s other nuclear powers, Britain and France.

“We will obviously pay special attention to what line and what decisions London and Paris are taking, which can no longer, even hypothetically, be considered outside of the Russian-US dialogue on nuclear arms control,” the TASS news agency quoted
Ryabkov as saying.

He said there was currently no direct dialogue between Moscow and Washington on nuclear issues and it was unknown whether it would resume.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday evening it would continue to abide by the limits on the number of warheads it can deploy and stood open to reversing its decision.

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