MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday quickly backed President Vladimir Putin’s decision to suspend the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the United States. Ukraine.
Putin said Moscow was suspending its participation in the 2010 New START treaty in his address to the nation on Tuesday, saying Russia could not agree to U.S. inspections of its nuclear facilities under the treaty, while Washington and its NATO allies openly declared the defeat of Russia in Ukraine as the goal.
The Russian President stressed that Moscow is not withdrawing from the treaty in its entirety, and the Russian Foreign Ministry said the country would comply with the limits on nuclear weapons established by the treaty and continue to notify the United States of test launches of ballistic missiles.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, which Putin chairs, stressed on Wednesday that Russia’s suspension of the pact was a signal to the US that Moscow was ready to use nuclear weapons to defend itself.
“If the US wants to defeat Russia, we have the right to defend ourselves with any weapon, including nuclear weapons,” Medvedev said on his channel on the messaging app. “Let the US elites, who have lost touch with reality, think about what they have received. If the US wants Russia to be defeated, we are on the verge of a global conflict.”
Leonid Slutsky, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of the State Duma, stressed that the suspension is “reversible and can be revised if our Western opponents come to their senses and realize their responsibility for the destruction of the global security system.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also noted that it would be up to Putin to decide whether Moscow could return to the pact. “The President will determine whether and when conditions will arise for revising or clarifying yesterday’s decision,” he told reporters.
Ryabkov noted that Russia’s surveillance capabilities would allow it to track US nuclear forces even without the data exchange and inspections envisaged by the New START.
“We will undoubtedly be monitoring the actions of the United States and its allies very closely and will take additional countermeasures if necessary,” Ryabkov said.