Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that he would suspend its nuclear armament treaty with the U.S., Breitbart reported. Putin claimed the U.S. was trying to "finish" his nation "forever" during his State of the Nation remarks.
Putin spoke for two hours in a speech that is supposed to come annually for the Russian leader. However, this was the first such address he's made since April 2021.
It came just ahead of the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in what Putin called a "special military operation." Although simmering tensions have been a hallmark of relations between the two nations since 2014, aggressive action began anew on Feb. 24, 2022.
During his speech, the Russian leader claimed he "did everything possible, really everything possible, to solve this problem by peaceful means," but the U.S. intervened to stop Ukraine from taking the terms of any deal. "I want to repeat this: it was they who unleashed the war, and we used force to stop it," Putin claimed.
However, he glossed over a 2014 offensive Russia initiated that went unanswered under then-President Barack Obama. "I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty," Putin announced.
"The West uses Ukraine as a ram against Russia," Putin also claimed. "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," Putin said. "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."
The deal, dubbed the New START, was first signed in 2011. It was renewed under President Joe Biden through 2026 and sought to keep the truce in the nuclear arms race between Russia and the U.S.
Under the treaty, both Russia and America were to adhere to an agreement limiting nuclear missiles and the equipment capable of launching them. It included a cap of only 1550 nuclear warheads and 800 vessels equipped for nuclear weapons.
It also limited the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles to 700. In what now appears to be a prescient moment for former President Donald Trump, he largely panned these terms as a "one-sided deal" partly because didn't include China.
"It's a one-sided deal like all other deals we make. It's a one-sided deal," Trump said in 2017. "It gave them things that we should have never allowed," he fumed. "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," Trump said at the time.
Unfortunately, Trump failed to get it done in his time, and now Russia and China are significant threats. Now, Putin is not just dissolving the agreement, but rather he's making a play that shows the U.S. has no power over its adversaries at all.
Putin has shown his willingness to play hardball, even regarding something as serious as the threat of nuclear war. Meanwhile, Biden seems to be continually caught unawares as this and other situations come to a head worldwide.