USA and NATO with a sharp reaction to Putin’s announced withdrawal of Russia from the START treaty
Stoltenberg: Putin does not want peace, is preparing for a new offensive, Blinken: Russia's statement that it is suspending its participation is extremely inappropriate and irresponsible
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he regrets Russia’s decision to end its participation in the new Strategic Arms Treaty (START) with the United States, UNIAN reported.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, Stoltenberg urged Moscow to reconsider the move.
His remarks came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his message to the Federal Assembly.
“I regret Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the new Strategic Arms Treaty. With today’s decision, the entire arms control architecture has been dismantled. I urge Russia to reconsider its decision,” the NATO secretary general said.
Signed in 2010 for 10 years, the Treaty limits the strategic launchers and nuclear warheads of the Russian Federation and the United States to 700 and 1,550, respectively. The Treaty can be extended for a period of 5 years, subject to the goodwill of each of the signatories.
Stoltenberg also rejected Putin’s claim that Kiev and its Western allies are to blame for the war, recalling that Russia itself is the aggressor.
“It was Putin who started this imperialist war of conquest… As the President of the Russian Federation made clear today, he is preparing for another war… Putin must not win… It would be dangerous to our security and for the whole world,” he said.
Russia’s decision to end its participation in the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is irresponsible, and the United States will be watching closely what Moscow actually does. This was stated by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, quoted by Reuters.
Russia’s statement that it is suspending its participation is extremely inappropriate and irresponsible, he pointed out in Athens.
“We will be watching closely to see what Russia is actually doing. Of course, we will make sure that in any case we are positioned appropriately for the security of our own country and that of our allies,” Blinken stressed.
Blinken left the door open to resuming talks at any time.
“We remain ready to talk about strategic arms limitations at any time with Russia, regardless of anything else that happens in the world or in our relationship,” he stressed.
The world expects the two largest nuclear powers to act responsibly, Blinken added.
Putin announced the suspension of Russia’s participation in the Strategic Offensive Weapons Treaty
On February 21, during his message to the Federal Assembly, Putin announced a temporary suspension of Russia’s participation in the Treaty on Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Armaments.
“It’s all in the past. Our relationship has deteriorated,” he said.
At the same time, the leader of the Russian Federation pointed out that it is not about Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty, but about the termination of participation.
Putin on the war in Ukraine
“They (the West) unleashed the war and we use force to stop it. It was they who let the genie out of the bottle, plunged entire regions into chaos,” Putin said during an address to the Federal Assembly.
Russian President Vladimir Putin does not want peace, he is preparing for a new offensive in Ukraine.
As UNIAN correspondent reports, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this at a joint press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell, commenting on Putin’s message today.
“What we saw today is that President Putin is not preparing for peace, he is preparing for war, for new offensives. He is preparing to send more troops, more weapons to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.
He again emphasized the need for support for Ukraine.
“So we have to support Ukraine because it will be a tragedy for Ukraine, but also a danger for all of us if Putin wins in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg added.
Will there be a new offensive – what experts say
Military and political observer Alexander Kovalenko is convinced that new missile strikes are possible on February 24, but not an offensive similar to the one that took place on this day a year ago.
According to the commander of the Combined Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Sergey Naev, an offensive from Belarus is also unlikely, since the enemy does not have sufficient forces on the territory of Belarus.
On February 15, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed confidence that Ukrainian fighters would thwart any attempts by Russia to seize the initiative on the battlefield.
What is the “New START” contract?
The New START treaty was signed in 2010 by the then presidents of the US and Russia, Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, and provides for a limit on the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the US and Russia are allowed to deploy.
The agreement entered into force in 2011 and was extended for five years in 2021 after Joe Biden took office as the head of state of the United States. “New START” enables American and Russian inspectors to ensure that both countries comply with the agreed terms.
However, inspections were temporarily suspended in March 2020 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Talks between Moscow and Washington were scheduled to take place in Egypt last year, but Russia postponed them and neither side offered a new date.
Earlier this month, Russia said it wanted the treaty to remain in place, even as it described the US approach to arms control as destructive.
Russia and the United States, which together possess about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads, have stressed that war between the nuclear powers must be avoided at all costs.
However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed the two countries the closest they have come to direct confrontation in 60 years.
The US has accused Russia of violating the treaty, saying it does not allow inspections to be carried out on its territory.