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The suspension of the New START leads to the end of the control of the nuclear race


The treaty, signed in 2010 by Medvedev and Obama, is the last pillar of the security system built by the US and Russia around their arsenals.

The world came to dream a decade ago of a planet without nuclear weapons.

On April 8, 2010, the then presidents of the United States, Barack Obama, and Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, signed the New START treaty, the agreement that put the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction back on track.

The pact echoed the spirit of the unborn START II accords and its successor, failed attempts at nuclear arms control during the turbulent years of George Bush and Boris Yeltsin.

It was a fleeting dream: against the background of saber rattling in Ukraine, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has pushed the New START treaty one step closer to final death by announcing its temporary suspension, leading to the dismantling of the architecture of security around nuclear weapons after the Cold War.

The New START is the last pillar of the security system built by both powers to stop the nuclear race.

The other pillar of this architecture for peace, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, was abolished less than five years ago.

The world faces a future with more nuclear weapons, experts say;

China is one of the countries that has increased the number of nuclear warheads the most in the last decade and the US estimates that it will exceed a thousand before 2030, while North Korea, among others, carries out multimillion-dollar investments in its atomic program.

A definitive rupture of the New START, extended by Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in 2021 for five years, would imply that the arsenals of the two largest nuclear powers would not be limited for the first time since the 1970s, when the series of treaties began to avoid its proliferation.

“I repeat, [Russia] is not withdrawing from the agreement, no.

It suspends its participation”, Putin has tried to emphasize so as not to end the New START.

In any case, the treaty had ceased to be fully implemented three years ago.

With the excuse of the pandemic, first, and the war later, Russia had breached one of the key principles of the agreement by preventing a mission of US inspectors from reviewing its arsenals since 2020. Moscow, for its part, demanded clarification from the Pentagon about the use of 41 B-52H bombers, 56 Trident II ballistic missile launchers, and four ICBM intercontinental missile silos that Washington had repurposed for other alleged purposes.

The document contemplates up to 18 annual reviews by teams of experts from both parties.

New START reduced to 1,550 the limit of nuclear warheads that could be deployed on a maximum of 700 active strategic platforms, including ballistic missiles and bombers assigned to these deterrent forces.

However, the treaty did not contemplate any cap on all weapons of mass destruction that both powers could store in their bunkers.

The limit of this 2010 pact is significantly lower than the 2,200 nuclear warheads and 1,600 platforms allowed by the previous one, the Treaty on Reductions in Strategic Offensive Armaments, sealed in Moscow in 2002 between Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush.

Called the Moscow Treaty, it was actually a patch to get by because the subsequent START II and START III disarmament treaties were never ratified.

Thus, Obama and Medvedev recovered in 2010 the path started with START I. This first pact was signed on December 31, 1991 by presidents George HW Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, and constituted the most ambitious disarmament agreement since World War II. , the result of the negotiating process opened in the middle of the Cold War by what were then the only superpowers in the world.

It contemplated a reduction of its arsenals, before December 2001, from 10,000 to 6,000 nuclear warheads and its strategic bombers and ballistic missiles to 1,600.

START II was to have entered into force in 2003, but the bill was not ratified by the Russian State Duma or the United States Senate.

That program was never definitively approved because the George W. Bush Administration abandoned the 1972 Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002. The treaty was abandoned by Russia on June 14, 2002, in response to the American decision to do the same with ABM, which allowed Washington to build in Poland and the Czech Republic that strategic anti-missile shield, considered by Moscow a direct threat to its security.

The disagreement was the prelude to Russia's withdrawal, at the end of 2007, of the Treaty of Conventional Forces in Europe (FACE, in its English acronym), the cornerstone of continental security and which had been signed in Paris by almost thirty of European countries, led by the US and Russia.

For their part, the START III negotiations should have begun once START II entered into force, as Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin had agreed.

Despite the fact that these conversations did not take place, some of his ideas were rescued in subsequent treaties.

The situation took a turn for the worse in 2019, when the two powers broke the historic 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, which limited the use of conventional and nuclear medium-range missiles.

A year later, Trump withdrew the US from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed surveillance flights over the signatory countries, after accusing Moscow of breaching it.

Russia denied the accusations, but also withdrew.

Trump already advanced his departure from the INF in 2018, denouncing that Russia had developed a missile (9M729) capable of carrying nuclear warheads up to a prohibited radius, between 500 and 5,500 kilometers away.

Putin, for his part, announced that year an arsenal of new nuclear and hypersonic weapons.

And he accused Washington of having deployed several Aegis platforms, which could also serve as nuclear weapons, at Romania's anti-missile shield facilities.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-02-21

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