Biden: Big mistake for Russia to suspend treaty - Dispatch Weekly

February 23, 2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes

​President Joseph Biden has called Russia’s suspension of the New Start nuclear arms treaty a “big mistake.

Putin revealed the change in his yearly address to the country on Tuesday.

The 2010 agreement limits US and Russian nuclear warheads and allows inspections.

In Poland, Mr. Biden addressed a major Nato meeting.

Almost exactly a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Bucharest Nine, a group of eastern European countries, condemned the invasion.

Russia’s parliament approved Putin’s nuclear treaty suspension on Wednesday.

Russia’s foreign ministry later stated that Moscow will “responsibly” comply with the New Start treaty’s constraints.

A senior military official informed Russia’s lower chamber that missiles and strategic bomber planes will remain under nuclear delivery system constraints.

The 2010 New Start deal was signed by former Presidents Obama and Medvedev to prevent nuclear war, and restricts strategic nuclear warheads while allowing each nation to inspect the other.

The 2011 agreement was extended 10 years later, despite the COVID-19 epidemic disrupting weapons inspections.

Each side has 1,550 long-range nuclear warheads, a lower figure from the original Start deal.

The two Cold War foes control most of the world’s nuclear weapons. Despite angry rhetoric on both sides during the Ukraine war, Moscow earlier declared it intended to retain the deal.

Mr. Biden said stopping New Start was a “big mistake” and restated the US commitment to Nato’s eastern flank before meeting with leaders from the Bucharest Nine states.

“Article 5 is a sacred commitment the United States has made. We will defend literally every inch of Nato,” he said. Article 5 stipulates that an attack on any member state is treated as an attack on all and requires a joint response.

He called the leaders the “front line of our collective defence” at the meeting. The group pledged to increase Nato’s military presence on their territories in an unified statement after the conference.

Moscow considers Nato, which may soon include Sweden and Finland, an existential threat.

At a Moscow rally commemorating a year of war, Mr. Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine for its “historical” lands.

“I just heard from the top military leadership of the country that a struggle is underway for our historical territories, for our people,” he stated.

He visited China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi in Moscow and said cooperation with Beijing was “very important to stabilise the international situation.”

Mr. Wang said China was willing to strengthen its partnership with Russia and that external pressure would not harm it.

DW Staff

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