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QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, Putin announced today he would suspend cooperation with New START.  Do you have a reaction and do you see this as a sign he’s going to breach the limits of the treaty?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  The announcement by Russia that it’s suspending participation in New START is deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.  We’ll be watching carefully to see what Russia actually does.  We’ll, of course, make sure that in any event we are postured appropriately for the security of our own country and that of our allies.

When the administration started, we extended New START because it was clearly in the security interests of our country and actually in the security interests of Russia.  And that only underscores what an irresponsible action this is.

But of course, we remain ready to talk about strategic arms limitations at any time with Russia irrespective of anything else going on in the world or in our relationship.  I think it matters that we continue to act responsibly in this area.  It’s also something the rest of the world expects of us.  But this decision, as I said, is both really unfortunate and very irresponsible, but we’ll be watching it closely.

MR PATEL:  Thank you for – thank you, everybody.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future