Putin Calls Off Nuclear Treaty With United States 

Yesterday, February 21st Valdimer Putin announced that he was “suspending his country’s participation in the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States” (CNN). Most Americans do not necessarily know what this means. 

A basic rundown of the New START treaty is that “Moscow and Washington are committed to deploying no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and a maximum of 700 long-range missiles and bombers.” (Fact box) and allows each side to conduct 18 or less inspections of nuclear weapons that are controlled by the opposite country. This treaty started in 2011 and was recently extended by 5 years back in 2021. 

Since Putin has announced the suspension of the treaty both President Biden and fellow allies in Europe (including NATO countries France and the UK) have “called on Putin to reverse the suspension” and a spokesperson for the British Prime Minister hopes that Putin will “reconsider his rash decision.” (CNN). The Biden Administration is also ready to discuss the nuclear treaty at any time “irrespective anything else going on around the world” (CNN). 

Now the most important question regarding this topic: what does this mean for America? There are many concerns, one of which being the possibility of starting a nuclear arms race. “I think you could argue that we were already heading in that direction, but it really depends on what Putin means when he says that he is suspending Russia’s participation in New START,” Sarah Bidgood said (NPR). “This is not Putin saying, ‘I’m going to break out of the treaty’s limits and now I’m going to deploy thousands more nuclear weapons,’ ” Lynn Rutsen said (NPR). Most officials believe that this is just a legal way to avoid inspections from the US.  

It is important to note that this is not starting a nuclear war, however it does open the door to starting one any day. It is collectively agreed that we will do anything to avoid a nuclear war, as President Ronald Regan said back in 1985 “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”