Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Tuesday responded to President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine with an aggressive speech denouncing the West.
On Monday, Biden met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kiev and announced a half-billion dollar aid package. Biden was scheduled to give a speech on the Ukraine war in Poland on Tuesday.
In his annual address to his nation, Putin laid down a challenge.
“I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty,” Putin said in his annual address to the nation, according to Fox News.
The New START treaty, signed in April 2010, limits the U.S. and Russia from deploying more than 1,550 nuclear warheads.
Putin just announced the suspension of New START, the only remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia. For the first time in decades, there are no limits on either country’s arsenal. Sure to be declared another great diplomatic triumph for the Biden Admin
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 21, 2023
During his speech, Putin portrayed Ukraine as a tool of the anti-Russian West, according to the U.K. Guardian, saying Ukraine was serving its “Western masters” by fighting Russia.
“The regime is not serving their national interest. They are serving the interests of foreign powers,” he said, and accused the West of trying to broaden the conflict, The Guardian reported.
“We will react in an appropriate way,” Putin said. “We are talking about the existence of our country.”
Putin cited areas of Russian-occupied Ukraine that voted to join Russia last year in referendums Western powers criticized as illegitimate.
“You yourself determined your future,” he said, addressing residents of those areas, according to the Guardian.
“You made your choice despite the threats of terror of the Nazis. Next to you there were military actions taking place, and you made the choice to be together with Russia. To be together with your motherland,” he said.
This morning, during Putin’s speech, the central part of Kherson was shelled by Russians from supposedly Grad multiple rocket launcher. At the moment, the city administration reports 6 dead and 12 injured civilians. In total, about 20 arrivals in the city were reported. pic.twitter.com/iayH6yoPru
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) February 21, 2023
A report from CNN indicated Putin’s claim might mean less than it seemed, citing U.S. officials it did not name as saying Russia does not abide by the treaty anyway.
“Russia is not complying with its obligation under the New START Treaty to facilitate inspection activities on its territory,” a State Department representative said in January.
“Russia’s refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the viability of U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control,” the representative said.
As the U.S. and Russia grow even more openly hostile to each other, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it gave a note to the U.S. ambassador to Moscow complaining that American aid to Ukraine shows the “inconsistency of the assertions of the American side that the United States is not a party to the conflict.”
It said this made weapons shipments and American troops “a legitimate target,” according to The Washington Post.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.