Putin suspends nuclear arms treaty as anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine nears – National

President Vladimir Putin issued a nuclear warning to Western powers on Ukraine on Tuesday, suspending the bilateral nuclear arms control treaty, announcing that the new strategic system is on combat duty, allowing Moscow to resume nuclear testing. warned.

Almost a year after ordering the invasion that sparked the biggest confrontation with the West since the abyss of the Cold War, Putin said Russia would achieve its war objectives and accused the West of trying to destroy it.

Putin has warned the US is driving war into a global conflict, saying Russia is suspending its participation in the New START Treaty, the last major arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington. Stated.

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It limits the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed by the world’s two largest nuclear powers and is set to expire in 2026.

“I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,” Putin told the country’s political and military elite.

Without citing evidence, the Russian leader said some in Washington were considering resuming nuclear testing. He said he should be ready to do so.

“Of course, we are not going to be the first to do this. said Putin.

“A week ago I signed an order to put a new ground strategy system into combat duty. Are they going to stick their noses in there too, or what?”

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It was not immediately clear which ground-based system would be put into combat duty.

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Russia and the United States still possess vast numbers of nuclear weapons left over from the Cold War era. They are by far the largest nuclear power, holding his 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.

The New START Treaty limited the number of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine ballistic missiles and heavy bomber warheads to 1,550 in both countries. Both sides reached their central limits by 2018.

Putin spoke for 1 hour and 45 minutes under a large Russian double-headed eagle emblem flanked by a total of eight Russian tricolor flags, vowing to continue Russia’s year-long war in Ukraine. rice field.

He also tried to justify the war by saying that it was forced on Russia and that he understood the pain of the families of those killed in action.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual speech in Moscow, Russia on February 21.

Photo of Dmitry Astakhov, Sputnik, Kremlin pool via AP

Western powers and future NATO member Ukraine reject the theory, justifying their claim that NATO’s eastward expansion after the end of the Cold War is an imperial-style land grab doomed to failure. claims it’s nothing.

“The Ukrainian people have become hostages to the Kiev regime and its Western overlords, who have effectively occupied the country politically, militarily and economically,” Putin said.

“They are turning a local conflict into a stage of global conflict. This is exactly how we understand everything and respond accordingly. In this case, we because we are talking about the existence of a country.”

He said it was impossible to beat Russia.

Russia will never give in to Western attempts to divide society, he said, adding that a majority of Russians support the war.

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