Putin Scraps Arms Control Treaty With US In Speech

A major arms control treaty between the United States and Russia is the latest casualty of the war in Ukraine, announced in a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin this week.

The Russian leader announced an end to the last remaining major nuclear agreement with the United States. It marked the end of more than five decades of arms control treaties between the two countries.

The revised Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is based on an original 1991 agreement between Washington and Moscow. It was renewed under President Biden and was due to expire in 2026.

However, following Putin’s speech, the treaty may be effectively dead.

The agreement significantly reduced Russian and American nuclear weapons systems and provided for mutual inspections of the other power’s nuclear sites.

The Tuesday address touched on a number of subjects, often centered around the war in Ukraine. The Russian leader blamed Western nations, particularly the United States, for the conflict.

According to Putin, Russia did not agree with Western cultural norms, including regarding homosexuality and religious issues.

The speech comes at a particularly symbolic time for the Kremlin. The day prior to Putin’s speech, President Biden made a high-profile visit to the Ukrainian capital. Later this week is also the one-year anniversary of the start of the war.

Russia is positioning a number of units near the front lines, including some in Belarus. There is increased speculation that Putin’s speech may also mark the start of a new offensive to take back land recently recaptured by Ukraine.

Putin did not mention the possibility of such an offensive. The Russian leader also did not ask the country’s parliament, the Duma, for a declaration of war against Ukraine.

This week’s speech may signal a major change in rhetoric from Moscow and beyond. China is weighing whether or not to send lethal aid to its ally in Russia. Chinese leader Xi Jinping is also reportedly considering a major address calling for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine.

Xi is considering such a trip later this spring.