Russian President Vladmir Putin's announcement that Moscow would suspend its participation in the New START treaty threatens to end the last remaining nuclear arms control agreement between the United States and Russia. Putin made the pledge during his annual State of the Nation address on Tuesday, when he accused Western nations of provoking the conflict in Ukraine. The treaty limits the U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapon stockpiles and gives each country opportunities to inspect the other's nuclear sites. Russia says it will continue to respect the caps established by the treaty, but that it will no longer allow inspections. For more on the treaty and the wider challenge of nuclear proliferation, we speak with Dr. Ira Helfand, a longtime advocate for nuclear disarmament, who says the need to end nuclear weapons "transcends" all other issues between the U.S. and Russia. "If we don't get rid of nuclear weapons, they're going to be used. And if they're used, nothing else that we're doing is going to make any difference," says Helfand. He is the former president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which received the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, a member of the steering group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, as well as the co-founder and past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
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