Recently, the Russian Federation under the leadership of Vladimir Putin has suspended their “New START” nuclear treaty with the United States under the presidency of Joe Biden. The “New START” treaty, as defined by the US Department of State, “enhances U.S national security by placing verifiable limits on all Russian-deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons”. The treaty, in essence, is designed to limit the capabilities of both the United States and Russia to deploy nuclear devices, and it also mandates that both parties are able to send inspection teams to their respective countries to verify the amount of nuclear weapons both possess. It also has several other statutes included in the treaty for both countries, such as sending frequent communications and data to each other about their respective nuclear arsenals and mandating on-site inspection teams for verification of the functionality of each country’s nuclear programs/warheads. The New START treaty was also the last major nuclear treaty between Russia and the US, with only smaller and unfocused treaties designed to assist each country with nuclear research remaining-meaning that Russia and the US no longer have a denuclearization program between each other.
Russian President Vladimir Putin during his “State of The Nation” address to the State Duma and other government powers in Moscow, where he announced the suspension of the New START treaty. (kremlin.ru/Moscow Times)
Before the suspension of the New START treaty, the Russian armed forces also attempted a test of the RS-28 Sarmat Hypersonic ICBM, which has been nicknamed the “SATAN II”. The test was conducted during the surprise visit of US President Joe Biden to Ки́їв (Kyiv), the capital of Ukraine. Russia reportedly tested the missile during Biden’s visit after informing the US, but the test itself was reportedly a failure according to CNN and two unnamed US officials. US officials stated that, if the test had been successful, Putin would have likely made it a key facet of his “State of The Nation” address in Moscow-but due to its failure, it went unmentioned. Putin also informed the nuclear branch of the Russian armed forces to be combat ready, and it is speculated that their nuclear forces may be activated to full combat stations soon.