From Strategic Stability
Report # 207. Presidential Address to Federal Assembly on February, 21
February 22, 2023
1. Moscow has suspended its participation in the New START
“Colleagues, I will talk about one more issue.
In early February , the North Atlantic alliance made a statement with actual demand to Russia, as they put it, to return to the implementation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, including admission of inspections to our nuclear defence facilities. I don’t even know what to call this. It is a kind of a theatre of the absurd.
We know that the West is directly involved in the Kiev regime’s attempts to strike at our strategic aviation bases. The drones used for this purpose were equipped and updated with the assistance of NATO specialists. And now they also want to inspect our defence facilities? In the current conditions of confrontation, it simply sounds insane.
I would like to draw your attention specifically to the fact that they are not letting us conduct full-scale inspections under this treaty. Our repeated applications to inspect different facilities remain unanswered or are rejected under formal pretexts, and we cannot verify anything on the other side.
I would like to stress that the United States and NATO are openly saying that their goal is to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. And what, after such statements they are supposed to tour our defence facilities, including the latest ones, as if nothing happened? A week ago, I signed an executive order putting new land-based strategic systems on combat duty. Are they going to poke their nose there as well? Do they think we will let them go there just because?
Having made this collective statement, NATO actually claimed to be a participant in the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms. We agree with this, please go ahead. Moreover, we believe this framing of the issue is long overdue. Let me recall that the US is not the only nuclear power in NATO. Britain and France also have nuclear arsenals. They are developing and upgrading them and these arsenals are also directed against us – they are also directed against Russia. The latest statements by their leaders merely confirm it – listen for yourselves.
We cannot just ignore this and have no right to do so especially now. Nor can we forget that the Soviet Union and the United States initially signed the first Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms in 1991 in a completely different situation – in conditions of abating tensions and growing mutual trust. Subsequently, our relations reached a level that allowed Russia and the US to say they no longer considered each other enemies. Wonderful, everything was going very well.
The Treaty of 2010 that is in force contains critically important provisions about indivisible security and the direct link between strategic offensive and defensive arms. All of that has long been forgotten. The United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty. It is now a thing of the past. Importantly, our relations have degraded which can be credited entirely to the United States.
After the Soviet Union broke up, they began to revise the outcomes of World War II and to build an American-style world ruled by one master. To do this, they began to rudely destroy the foundations of the international order laid down after WWII in order to cross out the legacy of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences. Step by step, they proceeded to revise the existing international order, to dismantle security and arms control systems, and plotted and carried out a series of wars around the world.
To reiterate, all of that was done for the sole purpose of dismantling the post-WWII architecture of international relations. This is not a figure of speech. This is how it all unfolded in reality. After the Soviet Union collapsed, they sought to perpetuate their global dominance regardless of the interests of modern Russia or other countries for that matter.
Sure enough, the international situation changed after 1945. New centres of growth and influence have been formed and are rapidly expanding. This is a natural and objective process that cannot be ignored. But the United States trying to refashion the international order to suit exclusively its own needs and selfish interests is unacceptable.
Now, they are using NATO to give us signals, which, in fact, is an ultimatum whereby Russia should, no questions asked, implement everything that it agreed to, including the New START Treaty, whereas they will do as they please. As if there is no connection between strategic offensive weapons and, say, the conflict in Ukraine or other hostile Western actions against our country. As if there are no vociferous claims about them seeking to inflict a strategic defeat on us. This is either the height of hypocrisy and cynicism, or the height of stupidity, but they are not idiots. They are not stupid after all. They want to inflict a strategic defeat on us and also to get to our nuclear sites.
In this regard, I am compelled to announce today that Russia is suspending its membership in the New START Treaty. To reiterate, we are not withdrawing from the Treaty, but rather suspending our participation. Before we come back to discussing this issue, we must have a clear idea of what NATO countries such as France or Great Britain have at stake, and how we will account for their strategic arsenals, that is, the Alliance’s combined offensive capabilities.
Their statement comes, in fact, as a request to join this process. Well, come onboard, we do not mind. Just try not to lie to everyone this time and present yourselves as champions of peace and detente. We know the truth. We are aware of the fact that certain types of US nuclear weapons are reaching the end of their service life. In this regard, we know for certain that some politicians in Washington are already pondering live nuclear tests, especially since the United States is developing innovative nuclear weapons. There is information to that effect.
Given these circumstances, the Defence Ministry and Rosatom must make everything ready for Russia to conduct nuclear tests. We will not be the first to proceed with these tests, but if the United States goes ahead with them, we will as well. No one should harbour dangerous illusions that global strategic parity can be disrupted”.
“Today, we are together living through challenging times and overcoming all difficulties together as well. It could not have been otherwise because we have been raised on the example of our great ancestors and must be worthy of their behests that are passed down from generation to generation. We are moving only forward owing to our devotion to our Motherland, our will and our unity.
This cohesion was on display from the first days of the special military operation – hundreds of volunteers, representatives of all ethnicities of our country came to recruitment offices. They decided to stand by the defenders of Donbass, to fight for their native land, for their Fatherland, for the truth and justice. Today, warriors from all regions of our multi-ethnic Motherland are fighting shoulder to shoulder on the frontlines. They pray in different languages, but they all pray for victory, for their fellow soldiers and for the Motherland. (Applause.)
Their difficult military labour, their exploits are finding a powerful response all over Russia. People are supporting our fighters. They don’t want to stay on the sidelines. The front is now passing through the hearts of our people in their millions. They are sending medicine, communication devices, transport, warm clothes and camouflage nets, to name a few – everything that helps protect the lives of our fighters.
I know the comfort letters from children and schoolkids give to our soldiers at the front. They take them into battle as a cherished possession because the sincerity and purity of children’s wishes bring tears to their eyes. They feel more forcefully for whose sake they are fighting and whom they are defending.
Warriors, their families and civilians greatly appreciate the care with which volunteers are surrounding them. They have been acting boldly and decisively from the very start of the special military operation. Under fire and shelling they are leading children, elders and all those in trouble out of basements; they were and still are bringing food, water and clothes to hot spots; they are setting up humanitarian aid centres for refugees and helping doctors in field hospitals and on the combat contact line; they continue to risk their lives to save others.
The Russian Popular Front alone raised over five billion rubles as part of the All for Victory initiative. The flow of donations does not stop. Every contribution is important and this applies to those made by large companies and businesspeople. But especially touching and inspiring are the donations of people with modest incomes, which are contributing part of their savings, salaries and pensions. This coming together to help our warriors, civilians in the zone of hostilities and refugees is worth a lot.
Thank you for this sincere support, cohesion and mutual aid. It is impossible to overstate their importance.
Russia will meet any challenges because we are all one country, a big and united nation. We are confident in ourselves and confident in our strength. The truth is on our side. (Applause.)”
[Note: these are selective parts of the Address that has lasted for nearly two hours; the full text in English can be found at: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/70565%5D
2. Lawmakers approved Putin’s SOA treaty decision
Russia’s Parliament has passed legislation suspending Moscow’s participation in the New START agreement
Both houses of the Federal Assembly – the Russian Parliament – approved a bill on February 22 submitted by President Vladimir Putin, by which Moscow will temporarily suspend its participation in the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (New START) – the last existing nuclear accord between Russia and the US.
In an explanatory note attached to the bill, the lawmakers state that the agreement, which was meant to cut in half the number of nuclear weapons deployed around the world, was supposed to allow both parties to carry out inspections in order to ensure compliance. The US, however, “deliberately fails to fulfill its obligations under the treaty in this area of activity,” the note states.
Because of this, and in accordance with federal law, the Russian president has made a proposal to suspend the agreement, the note reads, adding that the decision to resume Russia’s participation in the treaty will also be made by the president.
The bill will enter into force once signed by the president and published.