Russia suspends participation in nuclear arms treaty

Russia has announced that it will suspend its participation in the New Start treaty, which commits Moscow and Washington to limiting their strategic nuclear arsenals. However, this temporary suspension does not amount to a withdrawal from the treaty, Putin explained on Tuesday. Europe's press weighs up the consequences.

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Liberal (GR) /

Growing uncertainty

The web portal Liberal voices concern:

“In his speech Putin stressed that the treaty cannot be considered independently of the war in Ukraine and other hostile actions of the West against Russia. He also said that Russia will resume nuclear tests if the US decides to do this first. These statements increase the uncertainty and fuel fears that Russia may use nuclear weapons. Of course, the suspension of the treaty is not the same as a withdrawal from it, but in practice it could gradually go in that direction.”

The Guardian (GB) /

At least we know where we stand

The announcement doesn't really change anything, columnist Samantha de Bendern writes in The Guardian:

“While [this step by Russia] sounds dramatic, it only formalises a situation that has been playing out between the two nuclear superpowers since the end of 2022, when Russia cancelled a meeting with the US to discuss the revival of mutual inspections that had stopped since Covid. The official closure of the main forum for dialogue on nuclear weapons is regrettable, and increases the chances of a new nuclear arms race - but at least all sides know clearly where they stand.”

Maszol (RO) /

Treaty not much use without China

The New Start nuclear arms control treaty needs to be amended anyway, Maszol points out:

“Such an agreement is of little value without China, which has recently embarked on a spectacular arms and military build-up. The Pentagon estimates that China's nuclear arsenal will equal that of the US and Russia in the next decade, and that it would make sense to consider a tripartite agreement now. The fact that China is showing no willingness to join for the time being is another matter.”