Escalation. It has evolved into Vladimir Putin's catchphrase.
And today, it was more obvious.
In his state of the nation address, the leader of the Kremlin declared that "Russia suspends its participation in the New Start treaty.". He criticized the West as usual.
The last agreement between Russia and America on nuclear disarmament is called New Start. The two nations' nuclear stockpiles are constrained by it.
However, there was more.
According to the Russian president, he had just signed a decree putting "new ground-based strategic complexes on combat standby duty.".
He forewarned of Russia's readiness to resume nuclear weapons testing.
President Putin added, "Of course, we won't do it first.". "However, if the US conducts tests, we will follow suit. ".
There had been issues with New Start. Washington had charged Moscow with breaking the agreement by refusing to allow inspections on its soil last month.
The stakes have been raised by Moscow's decision to halt its participation in the treaty.
Because we cannot predict Putin's future behavior or what is on his mind, Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace believes that this is more about nuclear blackmail but that it is still extremely dangerous.
"It's better to have a framework in order to avoid nuclear war," he continued.
"By losing this structure, we are actually seeing the threat of nuclear war. ".
Additionally, we are seeing a Kremlin leader who shows no regret or remorse for his decision to invade Ukraine.
His "special military operation" hasn't gone at all as he had hoped, causing suffering in Ukraine and significant military losses for Russia while also requiring President Putin to enlist a large number of Russian citizens.
You won't hear Putin acknowledge that the invasion was a major error or a major miscalculation. He continues to spread the erroneous idea that the West is to blame for the conflict.
I'd like to reiterate," he said. "They [the West] initiated the conflict. We have used force to stop it and continue to do so. ".
"The Western elites are open about wanting to defeat Russia strategically. To finally put an end to us is what it means.
They intend to escalate a regional conflict into a global conflict, in other words. That is exactly how we understand it. Accordingly, we will respond to it. This is so because it concerns our nation's very existence in this particular case. " .
President Putin exuded assurance that Russia could withstand international sanctions and triumph despite the West's support for Ukraine. No hints of a compromise. No indication that he is searching for an exit.
He believes he has enough energy to carry on the conflict and war. It's a poor sign, Mr. Kolesnikov says. He has shattered all ties to Western nations. He's not quite ready to wrap up this catastrophe yet. He will carry on.