Putin Suspends U.S. Nuclear Treaty, Cites West’s Ukraine Involvement As “Ram” Against Russia

 February 22, 2023

On Tuesday, In a nearly two-hour speech, Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced the unilateral suspension of the longstanding, “New” Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) agreement that limits American and Russian nuclear development. He went on to describe Western support for Ukraine amid an ongoing Russian invasion, calling the West an existential threat to Russia.

He reiterated his claim, that the administration of current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, was “neo-Nazi” in its ideology. Putin also took the time to denounce “perversion” and “spiritual catastrophe” in the West, spending particular time condemning the Anglican Church for allegedly considering “the idea of a gender-neutral God.”

These remarks were made during Putin’s State of the Nation address, which the Russian constitution requires him to deliver annually. However, Putin has not delivered the speech for nearly two years. Reportedly, taking up most of Putin’s speaking time, was his defense of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in 2014. Russia’s full-scale national attack on the country, escalated through a “special military operation” that was announced on February 24, 2022. This open war began almost one year ago.

In his comments, Putin insisted that his administration-

 “did everything possible, really everything possible to solve this problem by peaceful means,” asserting…“I want to repeat this: it was they who unleashed the war, and we used force to stop it,” adding “The West uses Ukraine as a ram against Russia,” and “I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,”

-Vladimir Putin, Russian President

Putin claimed that Western powers, did not allow Ukraine to accept such a resolution. Making no mention of Russia’s invasion and colonization of Crimea in 2014, an event which received no significant response from the administration of then-President Barack Obama, Putin went on to declare that the United States, and the greater West were attempting to eliminate the existence of Russia as a whole.

Putin warned-

“The Western elite does not conceal their goal, which is to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. It means to finish us forever and grow a local conflict into global opposition,” adding “This is exactly how we understand it all and we will react accordingly, because in this case we are talking about the existence of our country.”

-Vladimir Putin, Russian President

Taking effect in February 2011, the New START was extended through 2026, under a proposal by President Joe Biden eagerly embraced in Moscow. The deal limits the number of nuclear weapons both sides can deploy and forced the U.S. and Russia to, at least on paper, maintain an equal number of strategic nuclear weapons.

However, a stern critic of the New START agreement President Donald Trump, reportedly raised the issue in his first call with Putin as president in 2017, publicly demanding a new agreement that also includes China. At that time, both China and Russia rejected including China in the proposal.

Then President Trump said in 2017-

“It’s a one-sided deal like all other deals we make. It’s a one-sided deal. It gave them things that we should have never allowed,”… “Just another bad deal that the country made, whether it’s START, whether it’s the Iran deal, which is one of the bad deals ever made. Our country only made bad deals, we don’t make good deals. So, we’re going to start making good deals.”

-Former President Donald Trump

Particularly at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, which kept the world focused elsewhere, and because Trump was unable to negotiate a new agreement, including China, Beijing capitalized on not being restrained by any limits and dramatically increased its nuclear stockpile. Additionally, a Putin friendly China, has refused to officially take sides in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Arguably, Russia is China’s closest geopolitical ally, but Ukraine is also a friendly nation and member of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI is a Chinese debt-trap program, it uses to erode the sovereignty of poor nations by lending monies and supporting infrastructure in exchange for land when the debt cannot be repaid. This program has been a worldwide push by China.

The U. S, and European countries have begun began expressing concerns this week that China would soon begin providing weapons to Russia. European Union, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said he expressed “strong concern” about potential weapons sales. This discussion occurred during a meeting with top Chinese Politburo member Wang Yi this weekend. Borrell reportedly said-

“I asked him not to do that, and expressing not only our concern, but the fact that for us, it would be a red line in our relationship,”… “He told me that they’re not going to do it, that they don’t plan to do it.”

- Josep Borrell, E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Putin claimed in his speech, on Tuesday, that American government officials were considering restarting nuclear tests, necessitating the suspension of the agreement. He did not name any officials allegedly considering this or offer any evidence for his allegation.

Putin also bemoaned the “spiritual catastrophe” of the West, claiming-

“They distort historical facts and constantly attack our culture, the Russian Orthodox Church, and other traditional religions of our country,”… “Look at what they do with their own peoples: the destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion, and the abuse of children are declared the norm. And priests are forced to bless same-sex marriages.” Adding “As it became known, the Anglican Church plans to consider the idea of a gender-neutral God … Millions of people in the West understand they are being led to a real spiritual catastrophe,” [calling Western countries] “Satanic.”

-Vladimir Putin, Russian President

This higher-level, saber-rattling, is cause for concern because, China, America’s number one adversary, could use this as an opportunity to strike a blow in the West by supporting Russia in this war. This would circumvent, if not directly countering, U.S. efforts to demand a peaceful result in Russia’s war with Ukraine. As 2024 elections approach, any good candidate will address this matter in their foreign policy statements, as primary, focusing on what is best for the U.S. abroad, as well as at home. The U.S. has national security to address aa well as our global reputation to rebuild - thanks to Democrats and the currently, ever-weak Biden administration.

“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none”

-Thomas Jefferson
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