President Biden on Wednesday condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suspension of his country’s participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington.
“Big mistake,” Mr. Biden told reporters in Warsaw, Poland, on his way to a meeting with the Bucharest Nine, a group of countries on NATO’s easternmost flank.
It was Mr. Biden’s first comments since Mr. Putin announced Russia’s decision to pull back from the treaty, known as New START.
In his annual state of the nation address to Russian lawmakers on Tuesday, Mr. Putin announced he is suspending participation in the treaty, which regulates the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.
The move came as tensions continue to flare between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin gave dueling speeches just hours apart on Tuesday offering contrasting views of the war.
Hours after Mr. Putin’s speech, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the decision to suspend was “reversible” and Moscow was not withdrawing from the pact.
“Washington must show political will, make conscientious efforts for a general de-escalation and create conditions for the resumption of the full functioning of the Treaty, and accordingly comprehensively ensuring its viability,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The treaty limits the number of deployed intercontinental nuclear weapons that the U.S. and Russia can have. It also permits both countries to conduct inspections of each other’s weapons sites and caps nuclear weapons.
Russia and the U.S. signed the treaty in 2010, and it was extended in 2021 for another five years. That means both countries will have to meet soon to negotiate another extension.