The head of the Russian intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, confirmed today, Sunday, that the decision to suspend participation in the Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty with Washington (START) was a surprise to the West.
“For Western countries, it was a surprise, but in my opinion, suspending Russia’s participation in the START treaty is a completely logical, firm and correct decision,” Naryshkin said in a statement to “Russia 1” channel today, Sunday.
In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Russia does not oppose the participation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries in discussing the Strategic Offensive Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
He also added in an interview with the same TV channel: “We are aware of the circumstances that prompted NATO to make these statements at the direction of the Americans… They claimed at the same time that they are somehow participating in this dialogue, but they are not an official party to the treaty, as the treaty is made up of On two sides: Russia and the United States.
In his annual address to the Federal Assembly, on February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the suspension of Russia’s participation in the Strategic and Offensive Arms Treaty.
He said Russia had suspended its participation in the treaty with the United States, which puts limits on the strategic nuclear arsenals of both sides.
He also continued: “I find myself compelled to announce today that Moscow has suspended its participation in the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty.”
What is the “New START” treaty?
New START is the latest bilateral agreement of this kind linking the world’s two major nuclear powers.
Signed in 2010, the treaty limits the arsenals of the two nuclear powers to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads each, representing a reduction of nearly 30 percent compared to the previous ceiling set in 2002.
It also limits the number of Strategic Launch Vehicles and Heavy Bombers to 800, which is enough to destroy the Earth many times over.
Putin had extended the treaty in January 2021 for five years, until 2026.
While Moscow announced in early August 2022 the suspension of scheduled US inspections of its military sites within the framework of the agreement, saying that it acted in response to American obstacles to Russian inspections in the United States.