Russia Quits Nuclear Arms Control Treaty with United States

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has withdrawn from the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the US.
  • The Biden Administration slammed the Kremlin for abandoning the treaty
  • Instead, Moscow has deepened its relations with China as its invasion of Ukraine completes one year
Russian President Vladimir Putin withdrew from the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the US and strengthened ties with China ahead of the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The tension between Russia and the Unites States has escalated as Moscow finds much-needed support from Beijing. Picture from Canva

YEREVAN ( — It has been almost one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

With the West united behind Kyiv to help the country defend itself against the Kremlin’s abusive offensive, President Vladimir Putin is yet to show any signs of stopping the advances of his troops. Instead, he constantly deepens the rift between Moscow and Washington.

In a move that came as little shock to many, he has now pulled out of the only remaining nuclear arms control treaty with the United States. Instead, he is strengthening ties with the other US rival, China.

In a strong message to lawmakers and the nation in his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on Tuesday, Putin announced that Russia was pulling out of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the US.

The announcement came after the longtime leader accused the US-led Western coalition of plotting to strike Russian strategic air bases.

“I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty,” 

Putin said in his address. 

Reacting to the announcement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Russia’s decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.” President of the United States, Joe Biden, also slammed Putin for the move. 

Answering reporters in Warsaw, Biden said Russia is making a “big mistake” by suspending a key nuclear arms treaty. The US president is in Poland to meet with leaders of nations on the eastern edge of the NATO alliance. 

What is the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty?

The New START treaty is an agreement between Washington and Moscow that limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the United States and Russia. Former US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev signed it in 2010.

The treaty came into force in 2011. However, when incumbent president Joe Biden took office in 2021, he extended the treaty for five years. Accordingly, the new deadline has been extended to 2026.

The treaty, which Putin has exited, limited the number of strategic nuclear warheads each side could deploy to 1,550. Moreover, it stated that neither Washington nor Moscow could use more than 700 long-range missiles and bombers.

Under the agreement, each side could conduct several inspections yearly to ensure that neither violated the treaty’s clauses. 

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Vladimir Putin deepens ties with China

In what marks a further slap in the face of the Biden Administration, its two arch-rivals, China and Russia, are moving closer to each other. 

On February 21, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi visited Russia amid the escalated tensions between Washington and Moscow. This is the first such visit since the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The visit also comes just a month after Xi Jinping appointed Wang as his top foreign policy adviser. 

The Chinese diplomat met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. During the high-profile meeting, the two sides stressed that the bilateral ties between China and Russia “continue to operate at a high level.”

Vladimir Putin also received Wang Yi and promised to “strengthen” Moscow’s ties with Beijing. In return, the Chinese diplomat assured that international pressure would not undermine the long-standing ties between the two superpowers.

“China-Russia relations have withstood pressure from the international community and are developing in a very stable manner against the backdrop of a very complex, changing international situation,”

Wang told the Russian president.
Top Chinese Diplomat Wang Yi is on an official visit to Moscow  ahead of the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Top Chinese Diplomat Wang Yi is on an official visit to Moscow

Earlier, Wang had also met with the head of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, according to China’s Foreign Ministry. 

The meeting comes ahead of the expected visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russia this spring.

While the Biden Administration has tried to oppose Vladimir Putin’s Government strongly, the growing Russia-China alliance threatens the united West. It undermines the United States’ leadership and shows how Moscow is far from being isolated. 

Moreover, tensions between Washington and Beijing have also escalated over the recent weeks after the US shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon. 

As the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches, the Kremlin is yet to show remorse. It seems Vladimir Putin is unmoved by President Biden’s pledge of an additional $500 million in aid to Ukraine.

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