Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said Tuesday Russia will “suspend” its participation in the New START nuclear arms control treaty but adhere to the treaty’s limits on deployed strategic nuclear weapons.

Media widely reported Putin’s remarks. The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted that Putin announced the suspension during an address to Russian lawmakers in Moscow. According to a Google translation of a lengthy Foreign Ministry statement posted online Tuesday, Russia accuses the U.S. of “a material violation of the New START Treaty.”

Putin’s announcement followed by about a month a State Department report to Congress that said Russia violated New START by blocking the U.S. from Russian nuclear-weapon sites that, under the decade-old bilateral agreement, are subject to inspection. The treaty expires on Feb. 5, 2026.

Putin on Tuesday said Russia was suspending treaty participation for a number of reasons. 

These included a litany of old complaints — including that Moscow is unconvinced the U.S. has permanently removed the ability of certain bombers and submarines to use nuclear weapons — and a new complaint: that, in Moscow’s view, the U.S. only wants to inspect Russian nuclear-weapon sites so that Washington can pass information about the sites to Ukraine, which intends to attack such sites.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, saying that Kiev’s friendliness with western Europe and the U.S., and with members of the NATO alliance, constituted an intolerable security threat to Russia. Russia also asserted that it wished to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine from the influence of Ukraine and its allies. Russia also invaded Ukraine in 2014, after which it annexed the Crimean peninsula. 

So far, Russia has not toppled the Ukrainian government. 

New START limits Washington and Moscow to 1,500 deployed strategic warheads on no more than 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers.

Last week at sister publication the Exchange Monitor’s Nuclear Deterrence Summit in Arlington, Va., senior government officials and contractors from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) spoke about the ongoing war in Ukraine and the ramifications for U.S. nuclear weapons programs.

“We’re not doing a lot of interactions with our adversaries,” NNSA Administrator Jill Hruby said Feb. 14 the summit. “In fact, I’ve been sanctioned, you know? Most of us in the NNSA leadership have been sanctioned by the Russians, so I don’t think we’re going to be doing anything with them.”

Hruby said that the NNSA has been involved with U.S. efforts to aid the Ukrainian resistance since Russia invaded for the second time, in 2022. 

“I am immensely proud of what our team is doing as part of the behind the scenes efforts in Ukraine,” Hruby said in prepared remarks to summit-goers last week.

“[G]iven what’s going on in the world today, just over the course of the last year, that there are going to be additional demands placed on us,” Thomas Mason, director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said at the summit. “And given the fact that we’re feeling like we’re experiencing the limits of our capacity now, if you ask me ‘how are you going to be able to take on more and more responsibilities … the only way I can see to have the capacity to respond to those military needs is to be able to use the resources we have more effectively.”

This story first appeared in Defense Daily affiliate publication Weapons Complex Morning Briefing.