Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President, gave a speech to the Russian news media outlets on the upcoming anniversary of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, reported Reuters.
Putin’s speech was a warning to the west, for its intervention in the SMO, in support of Ukraine.
He suspended Russia’s participation in the New START arms control treaty with the United States (USA).
"A week ago, I signed a decree on putting new ground-based strategic systems on combat duty," Putin said.
The New START Treaty, which was signed in 2010, between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads US and Russia can deploy at a given time.
Only 1,550 nuclear warheads can be deployed, according to the treaty and each side can perform a total of 18 physical inspections of each other’s strategic nuclear facilities.
However, the inspection was put on hold after the start of SMO.
The treaty came into force in 2011 and was again extended for five years in 2021, to 2026.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Putin's move "deeply unfortunate and irresponsible".
Saying that the US is turning this war into a global conflict Putin said, "They intend to transform a local conflict into a phase of global confrontation. This is exactly how we understand it all and we will react accordingly because in this case, we are talking about the existence of our country."
Putin further said the conflict is forced upon Russia by NATO's steady eastward expansion towards Russia.
"The people of Ukraine have become the hostage of the Kyiv regime and its Western overlords, who have effectively occupied this country in the political, military, and economic sense," he said.
Putin’s speech came on the heels of a surprise visit of US President Joe Biden to Kiev, where he announced another aid of $500 million to Ukraine, for additional arms and ammunition.
Meanwhile, the Russian forces amassed almost 190,000 troops on the Ukrainian border according to some US officials.
The US officials said that this is “the biggest mobilisation of troops since the Second World War”.
The Ukrainian forces, on the other hand, are slowly and steadily losing territory on the eastern Ukrainian front.
Various reports suggest that the situation in the Eastern city of Bakhmut is very difficult and its capture could result in a collapse of the entire eastern Donbas front.
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