Putin suspends START nuclear pact, raises tensions

Warsaw (Caasimada Online) – The Ukraine crisis continues to be a point of contention between the United States and Russia, with recent speeches from President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin revealing vastly different perspectives on the ongoing conflict.

While Putin has accused the West of escalating the war into a global conflict, Biden has vowed to stand by Ukraine and protect its sovereignty.

The Ukraine crisis began in 2014 when Russian troops annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Since then, fighting has erupted in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, with Ukrainian forces facing off against Russian-backed separatists.

The conflict has displaced millions of people and left Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages in ruins. According to the U.N. human rights office, more than 8,000 civilians have been killed, and thousands more are presumed to have died.

While Russia still controls roughly a fifth of Ukraine, the country has suffered three significant battlefield losses in the past year. However, Putin has made it clear that he sees the conflict as a vital interest of Russia and has warned the West against interfering.

Biden’s speech in Warsaw

President Biden’s speech at the Royal Castle of Warsaw emphasized the importance of standing by Ukraine and upholding democracy.

He stated that the invasion of Ukraine was a test for the ages, not just for Ukraine but for the entire world. He said that the United States and its NATO allies took action to defend sovereignty, protect people from aggression, and uphold democracy.

Biden also made it clear that the U.S. support for Ukraine would remain steadfast and that NATO would remain united. He rejected Putin’s claim that Western allies were attempting to control or destroy Russia through their support of Ukraine but did accuse Russia of crimes against humanity, such as targeting civilians and rape.

Putin’s speech to Russian Elite

In a speech to Russia’s military and political elite, Putin accused the United States of escalating the war into a global conflict and announced the suspension of Russia’s participation in the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).

Putin also indicated that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia if needed and announced that he had signed a decree to put new ground-based strategic systems on combat duty a week prior.

While the foreign ministry clarified that Moscow would still abide by the restrictions outlined in the treaty regarding the number of deployed warheads, the move was met with criticism from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who called it “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also expressed concern, stating that it made the world more dangerous and urged Putin to reconsider.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun also expressed concern, noting that a nuclear war could not be won and should never be fought and that the parties concerned should continue negotiating to find a solution.

The future of the conflict

The future remains uncertain as tensions continue to rise between Ukraine and Russia. While the United States has pledged its support to Ukraine and promised to defend democracy, Russia has made it clear that it sees the conflict as a vital interest and has warned the West against interfering.

Reports from the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff on Tuesday night indicated that 18 towns and villages near Bakhmut had come under fire. Russian forces had shelled the contested city of Marinka and nearby Vodiane and Nevelske.

Russian fire also hit several towns and villages further west in the Zaporizhzhia region, including the contested cities of Hulyaipole and Orikhiv. However, reports of battlefield events have not been independently verified by Reuters.

The conflict in Ukraine remains a major point of contention between the United States and Russia. While the situation is tense and uncertain, both sides have made it clear that they will stand by their positions and protect their interests.