U.S. President Joe Biden said on Feb. 22 that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had made a "big mistake" by suspending Russia's participation in the New START treaty, a nuclear arms reduction agreement between the two countries.
The treaty, signed in 2010 in Prague, limited the size and composition of the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals and was the only remaining arms control agreement between the two countries. Putin announced the country's withdrawal from the agreement on Feb. 21.
"It's a big mistake," Biden said, wrapping up his visit to Poland that came after his historic surprise trip to Kyiv on Feb. 20.
Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg criticized Russia's decision, saying that "the whole arms control architecture has been dismantled."
"I strongly encourage Russia to reconsider its decision and to respect existing agreements," Stoltenberg said on Feb. 21.
Putin attempted to justify this decision by claiming that "the goal of the West is to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia, to end us once and for all."
In response to Putin's speech, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that "nobody is attacking Russia."
"There's a kind of absurdity in the notion that Russia was under some form of military threat from Ukraine or anyone else," he said.