Russia suspends the last remaining nuclear treaty with the United States. This is what Russian President Putin said in his speech to parliament. Among other things, the treaty sets limits on the number of intercontinental missiles that both countries may have.
The so-called ‘New Start’ treaty was extended for another five years in 2021. Last summer, Russia already said that US inspectors were no longer welcome for nuclear weapons inspections as part of that treaty for the time being.
“If the US does nuclear testing, then so do we,” said Putin, who also pointed out that some nuclear weapons in the US are reaching their expiration dates.
In 2018, the US pulled the plug on another arms deal that dates back to the Cold War, because according to the Americans, Russia had developed a cruise missile against the agreements.
Putin made the statements during the ‘State Of The Union’. In it, the president addresses the Russian parliament. Normally that happens every year, but last year Putin skipped the speech when Russia invaded Ukraine.
In his speech, the Russian president once again lashed out at the West, which he says is guilty of provoking the war in Ukraine. According to him, Russia would like to resolve the conflict peacefully, but Western countries had planned “another scenario”, something the president has said many times.
At the start of his speech, Putin said he is addressing MPs at “a very difficult time”. The president reiterated that the so-called military operation was necessary to “rescue the people of the Donbas”, referring to the area of eastern Ukraine that Russia illegally annexed.
Putin harshly criticized Ukraine and the West in his speech:
When Putin announced the so-called special military operation almost a year ago, it still had the goal of “denazifying” (installing a new government) and “demilitarizing” (taking out the army) Ukraine. But as the war lasted longer than Russia had anticipated, that rhetoric changed to a protracted war against the collective West for Russia’s survival.
That message also penetrated the almost two-hour speech that Putin now gave to the members of parliament. He stressed that it is the West’s fault that “the genie is out of the bottle”.
According to Putin, the West is out to destabilize Russian society. “Look what they’re doing in the West. Priests approve of gay marriage, the Anglican Church is proposing the idea that God is gender neutral. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
Putin spoke not only of “military aggression”, but also of “economic aggression” by the West, referring to the economic sanctions countries have put in place because of the war. According to the president, these measures are intended to make people suffer. “But their calculation did not come true, the Russian economy is stronger than they thought in the West.”
Putin stated that Russia will do everything to bring peace back. He announced a special fund for families of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. He also promised more social support to the “new areas” of Russia and expressed his gratitude to all Russian soldiers on the battlefield.
However, Putin did not elaborate on the exact goals of the invasion of Ukraine. The longer the battle continues, the more unclear it has become what exactly Russia wants to achieve with the military operation.
Kremlin spokesman Peskov already hinted that the speech would make more clear about the real purpose of the invasion, but Putin mainly kept repeating what he has said in recent months: the West is fully responsible for the escalation in Ukraine.
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