President Joe Biden has recently suspended a key nuclear arms treaty with Russia, but he does not believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin will deploy nuclear weapons, according to a statement from the White House.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was signed in 1987 by then-US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The treaty prohibited both countries from deploying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
However, the US and Russia have accused each other of violating the treaty in recent years, and tensions between the two countries have increased. In February 2021, President Biden announced that the US would be suspending the treaty, citing Russia’s continued violations.
Despite this move, the White House has said that President Biden does not see Russia deploying nuclear weapons in response to the US suspension of the treaty.
“The President does not believe that President Putin will deploy nuclear weapons as a response to our suspension of the INF treaty,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a press briefing.
Psaki also emphasized that the US remains committed to arms control and non-proliferation efforts, and that the suspension of the treaty does not mean that the US is seeking to increase its nuclear arsenal.
“We will continue to engage with Russia and other countries on arms control and non-proliferation efforts,” she said. “Our goal is to reduce the risk of nuclear war and to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.”
The suspension of the INF treaty is just one of several areas of contention between the US and Russia. President Biden has also been critical of Russia’s human rights record and its alleged interference in US elections, among other issues.