Russia to Respect START Treaty Caps Despite Suspension

February 21, 2023

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said it would respect the nuclear weapons caps proposed under the New START treaty of 2010, just hours after President Vladimir Putin had announced Moscow was suspending its participation in the pact.

The Foreign Ministry also noted that Russia would continue to exchange information about ballistic missile test launches, as per earlier agreements with the U.S.

Earlier on Tuesday, Putin in his annual state of the nation address had announced that he was suspending participation in the START treaty following Biden’s surprise visit Monday to Kyiv, Ukraine.

The state of the nation occurred nearly two months after Putin had skipped his annual year-end marathon news conference in December for the first time in a decade. Normally a huge event in Russia, Putin uses the news conference to tout the year’s accomplishments and to reveal priorities for the year ahead. 

Numerous Russian pro-Putin pundits have railed against Biden’s trip to Kyiv for stealing Putin’s thunder ahead of Russia’s February 24 one-year “anniversary” of invading Ukraine, calling it a “humiliation” for Russia.

“Almost a year after the start of the Special Military Operation, in the Russian city of Kyiv we were waiting for the president of the Russian Federation, not the United States,” said a Telegram account run by Russian army and naval service members.

During Tuesday’s address Putin repeated an accusation he’s made many times before—that it was the West who started the war. “And we are using force to end it,” said Putin. 

During his address in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday, Biden rebuked this claim by Putin.

“The United States and the nations of Europe do not seek to control or destroy Russia,” Biden said, stating that he was speaking directly to the people of Russia. “The West was not plotting to attack Russia as Putin said today. And millions of Russian citizens who only want to live in peace with their neighbors are not the enemy. This war was never a necessity, it’s a tragedy. President Putin chose this war. Every day that it continues is his choice. He could end the war with a word. It’s simple.” 

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