Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of the country’s parliament, on Wednesday unanimously passed a law endorsing President Vladimir Putin’s move to suspend Moscow’s participation in a key nuclear pact with the US.
The document announcing Russia’s exit from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) was presented by Putin to the State Duma.
The effect of the New START Treaty is currently suspended and the decision to restore it rests with the president of Russia. The law will be effective from the time of its official publication.
The treaty was signed by Russia and the United States in Prague on April 8, 2010. It envisages the reduction of the nuclear arsenals of two countries. In his speech to the Federal Assembly on Tuesday, Putin announced the decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the treaty.
The president said Russia will not withdraw from the treaty but must know how the nuclear arsenals of other NATO countries, England and France, are calculated under the treaty before the treaty is renewed.
The Russian foreign ministry in a statement earlier said Moscow’s decision was reversible and called on Washington “to show the political will and make good-faith efforts to ensure the resumption of the treaty’s full-fledged operation.”
Meanwhile, a senior Russian defense official said on Wednesday Moscow would stick to agreed limits on nuclear missiles and continue to inform the United States of changes in its deployment despite the suspension of the latest arms control treaty with Washington.
Both houses of the Russian parliament quickly voted to suspend Moscow’s participation in New Start.
But a senior Russian Defense Ministry official, Major General Yevgeny Ilyin, told the lower house that Russia would continue to abide by the agreed limits on nuclear delivery systems — missiles and strategic bombers.
The Russian president has already said no one should have dangerous illusions that global strategic parity can be destroyed. Putin has accused the West of being directly involved in attempts to strike its strategic air bases.
The US had previously accused Russia of not being in compliance with New START.