Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law officially suspending his country's participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the US.
The law came into force immediately after the signing on Tuesday and the decision to resume Russia's participation in the treaty is up to the head of state, reports Xinhua news agency.
In his annual State of the Nation to the Federal Assembly on February 21, Putin said Russia was suspending its participation in, rather than withdrawing from, the New START treaty.
He also pointed out the combined strike potential of NATO as Britain and France also have nuclear arsenals that pose a threat to Russia.
A day later, a bill on the New START treaty suspension was unanimously adopted by Russia's parliament and then sent to Putin for his final approval.
The New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers, was signed in 2010 and took effect on February 5, 2011.
The Treaty stipulates that seven years after its entry into force, each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers.
On February 3, 2021, the two nations exchanged notes on the completion of internal procedures necessary for the agreement on extending the term of the treaty for five years to take effect.
On August 8, 2022, Russia informed the US it was temporary pausing New START inspections of its facilities in the wake of the sanctions imposed on Moscow in the wake of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.