In February 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that it is suspending Russia’s participation in the New START treaty. The New START treaty, the last remaining arms control treaty between Russia and US, negotiated in 2010, puts a cap on the number of deployed warheads and delivery systems by both countries. This bodes ill for the last remaining US-Russia bilateral arms control and global arms control regime. At a time when arms control regime is unravelling, suspension and perhaps the demise of New START could provide a further blow. It is important to examine what the Russian suspension means for New START and how has the US responded to this development. Could this mean that the demise of the last remaining strategic arms control treaty between the US and Russia is already upon us? What would this mean for global arms control regime?
President Vladimir Putin during his state of the nation address declared that he was suspending Russia’s participation in the treaty. President Putin said: “[Russia] is not withdrawing from the treaty, no, but merely suspending its participation.” He further said that “Russia will return to the treaty as soon as it understands how the arsenals of not only the United States but also other nuclear powers of NATO – the United Kingdom and France, will be taken into account.” Russia maintains that it could not accept US inspections while Washington and its NATO allies have openly declared Moscow’s defeat in Ukraine as their goal.