Los Angeles Times

Putin suspends last remaining arms pact with U.S.

Moscow will stop its participat­ion in the New START treaty, citing opposition to its invasion of Ukraine.

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a bill formally suspending the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the United States, amid soaring tensions with Washington over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Putin had declared a week ago in his state-of-thenation address that Moscow was suspending its participat­ion in the 2010 New START treaty. He declared that Russia can’t accept U.S. inspection­s of its nuclear sites under the pact at a time when Washington and its NATO allies have openly declared Russia’s defeat in Ukraine as their goal.

Both houses of parliament quickly ratified Putin’s bill on the pact’s suspension last week. On Tuesday, Putin signed it into law, effective immediatel­y. The document says that it’s up to the president to decide whether Moscow could return to the pact.

Putin has emphasized that Moscow is not withdrawin­g from the pact altogether, and the Russian Foreign Ministry said the country would respect the caps on nuclear weapons set under the treaty and keep notifying the U.S. about test launches of ballistic missiles.

On Monday, a top U.S. arms control official strongly criticized Russia for suspending its participat­ion in the treaty but noted that Washington will try to work with Moscow to continue its implementa­tion.

“Russia is once again showing the world that it is not a responsibl­e nuclear power,” Bonnie Jenkins, the U.S. undersecre­tary of State for arms control, said at a session of the Conference on Disarmamen­t, a United Nations-affiliated internatio­nal forum.

Jenkins told reporters that the U.S. has not fully assessed the consequenc­es of Russia’s suspension move but said: “We’re not seeing any evidence that Russia is in noncomplia­nce.”

“We remain ready to work assertivel­y with Russia to fully implement the New START treaty,” she added.

New START, signed by then-Presidents Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. The agreement envisages sweeping on-site inspection­s to verify compliance.

The inspection­s have been dormant since 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Discussion­s on resuming them were supposed to have taken place in November, but Russia abruptly called them off.

 ?? Gavriil Grigorov Pool Photo ?? RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law after both houses of parliament ratified it.
Gavriil Grigorov Pool Photo RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law after both houses of parliament ratified it.

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