Vladimir Putin’s suspension of Russia’s participation in the New START treaty, has been condemned by CND as a dangerous escalation of nuclear risk.

The Russian president made the announcement during a state of the nation speech in Moscow on Tuesday and coincides with US counterpart Joe Biden’s visit to Poland and Ukraine.

Signed between Barak Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 and coming into force the following year, New START has resulted in significant reductions in Russian and US arsenals. The treaty was extended for a further five years in 2021 but talks on a successor treaty have failed to materialise.

New START also allows for mutual inspections of each other’s nuclear weapons to monitor adherence to the agreement. “While these mutual inspections have been paused since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Putin’s suspension means the ability to verify adherence to warhead limits by both countries has been made more difficult.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: “This is a devastating blow that makes the world hugely less safe. With nuclear dangers at their highest, this is no time to destroy the last nuclear arms reduction Treaty. Now, the door is wide open to a spiralling nuclear arms race. Every effort must be made to restore this crucial Treaty.”

Photo credit: lemonking2013 / Flikr