Russia suspends only remaining major nuclear treaty with US

Source: The post is based on the article “Russia suspends only remaining major nuclear treaty with US” published in The Hindu on 22nd February 2023

What is the News?

The Russian President has announced that Russia is suspending its participation in the New START treaty, the only remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the United States and Russia.

What is the New START Treaty?

The New START Treaty is officially known as – the “Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms”.

The treaty was signed by the then-US President and then-Russian president in 2010. The treaty came into force in 2011 and was extended in 2021 for five more years.

The treaty limited both sides to 1,550 warheads on deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine ballistic missiles and heavy bombers. Both sides met the central limits by 2018.

How is compliance with the treaty ensured?

Detailed procedures for the implementation and verification of the central limits, and all treaty obligations, are part of the treaty terms.

The treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year for US and Russian inspection teams.

Note: Regular inspections mandated by the agreement have not been held for the past three years — initially because of the coronavirus pandemic, and later because relations soured after Russia invaded Ukraine.

What does this Russian President’s announcement mean?

The Russian President said that the country is not withdrawing from the treaty entirely. But Russia will not allow NATO countries to inspect its nuclear arsenal.

Analysts believe it is entirely symbolic since Russia had not been permitting inspections anyway. As per them, the move appears to be aimed at pressuring President Biden and his allies.

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