Russia-Ukraine War: Putin Shifts Blame On The West

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a combative state-of-the nation speech, blaming the West for the war in Ukraine ahead of the first anniversary of the invasion he ordered.

Putin spoke in front of a crowd of 1,400 people in Moscow, addressing members of both houses of parliament, military commanders and soldiers while video screens were also put up in large cities across the country.
Besides warning the West of a global confrontation, Putin sought to justify the invasion, saying it had been forced on Russia and he understood the pain of the families of those who had fallen in battle.

He also said Russia would suspend participation in the New START treaty, the last major pillar of post-Cold War nuclear arms control between Moscow and Washington, which limits their strategic nuclear arsenals.

Putin said Russia needed to be ready to test nuclear weapons if the United States moves to do so itself.

Almost immediately, global powers such as NATO urged Moscow against withdrawing.

The New START treaty, which was signed in Prague in 2010, caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the US and Russia may deploy and the deployment of land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world with close to 6,000 warheads, according to experts. Together, Russia and the US hold about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads – enough to destroy the planet many times over.

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