Russian President Vladimir Putin has suspended the last major nuclear disarmament treaty with the United States. The Kremlin announced in Moscow that Putin had signed a law to that effect. The president announced the move in his February 21 address to the nation.
Putin had stressed that this was not an exit from the agreement. However, he had previously repeatedly warned that an end to the agreement, which expires in 2026, could lead to a new nuclear arms race. For the time being, Russia wants to continue to adhere to the agreed upper limits for nuclear weapons.
The New Start disarmament treaty is the only remaining major arms control agreement between the United States and Russia. The treaty limits the nuclear arsenals of both countries to 800 delivery systems and 1,550 operational warheads each. In addition, it is regulated that Washington and Moscow can exchange information about their strategic nuclear arsenals and hold up to 18m verification visits per year.