The US and Russia, the world’s two largest nuclear powers, will resume talks over nuclear treaty
On Tuesday, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the countries have agreed to resume the treaty talks soon.
In 2010, the US and Russia signed an agreement called The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which was extended to last through 2026. The treaty allows Russia and the US to inspect each other’s nuclear weapons facilities on-site, but these were suspended in 2020 because of COVID. And ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, foreign relations between the two countries have been tense. Earlier this year, the US tried to resume inspections, but Russia wasn’t on board, saying that the US was preventing Russian officials from doing inspections on American soil.
On Tuesday, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the countries have agreed to resume the treaty talks soon. These would be the first New START talks since Russia invaded Ukraine. US intelligence had recently reported that Russia’s military was discussing how it might use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. But, some US experts believe this intel may have been taken out of context, and there’s no evidence Russia plans to go nuclear anytime soon. It’s looking pretty positive that Moscow has shown interest in resuming the talks, but it would only happen after inspections are back on.
“US sanctions and restrictive measures imposed as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine are fully compatible,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
“I don’t have any comment on the particulars of this reporting,” said National Security Council official John Kirby in a statement last week. “We’ve been clear from the outset that Russia’s comments about the potential use of nuclear weapons are deeply concerning, and we take them seriously. We continue to monitor this as best we can, and we see no indications that Russia is making preparations for such use.”
“In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in a speech in September.