US President Joe Biden on Wednesday offered fresh criticism of Russia’s suspension of a key nuclear treaty, but stressed there was no indication Moscow was moving closer to actually using an atomic weapon.
“It’s a big mistake to do that, not very responsible,” Biden told ABC News in Poland on the sidelines of a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and eastern European leaders in Warsaw.
“But I don’t read into that that he’s thinking of using nuclear weapons or anything like that,” the US president added, noting that he had seen “no evidence” of any change in posture on nuclear arms use by Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced the suspension of Moscow’s participation in the New START arms treaty during a state of the nation address — a decision that was approved by Russian lawmakers on Wednesday.
The 2010 deal, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two rival nuclear powers, commits them to limiting their stockpile of nuclear warheads.
Putin’s treaty announcement was met with widespread international condemnation, though Russia’s foreign ministry later said Moscow would continue to comply with the treaty’s restrictions in a “responsible” way until it expires in February 2026.
Biden told ABC News he was “confident that we’ll be able to work it out,” without elaborating.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Russia’s decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible” but said Washington was still willing to talk about the issue.