NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made “the world more dangerous” by deciding to withdraw from international nuclear agreements.

Stoltenberg made the comments at a press conference in Berlin after his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In criticizing Russia, the NATO chief cited Putin’s decision earlier this year to end Russia’s participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which was the last agreement on nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia.

He also blamed Russia for terminating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between Washington and Moscow in 2019 by violating the terms of the treaty. Stoltenberg then discussed a more recent example of an abandoned agreement: the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), from which Russia withdrew this week.

“Russia continues to undermine security in Europe” with such decisions, Stoltenberg said.

Jens Stoltenberg and Vladimir Putin
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left) speaks during a news conference during a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, July 12. Right, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Ak Orda presidential palace on November 9 in Astana, Kazakhstan. Stoltenberg criticized Putin on Thursday for withdrawing Russia from international agreements on nuclear arms control.
Photos by PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images

Regarding the decision to withdraw from the CFE treaty, Stoltenberg said: “Russia has revoked and walked away from all major arms control treaties.”

“This is reckless behavior that makes the world a more dangerous place,” he added.

News week contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry and NATO by email for comment.

Stoltenberg did not mention Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s signing Thursday of a decree eliminating his country’s agreement with Japan to reduce and contain nuclear stockpiles.

This agreement between Moscow and Tokyo was reached in 1993 after North Korea declared that it would no longer negotiate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In October, Russia’s lower house of parliament also voted unanimously to revoke Moscow’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which prohibits “any test explosion of nuclear weapons or any other explosion nuclear power” all over the world.

The CTBT was adopted in 1996 by the United Nations General Assembly and ratified by Russia. The United States signed the treaty in 1996 but has not ratified it.

During his speech in Berlin, Stoltenberg said: “NATO remains fully committed to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. And we call on Russia to play a responsible role.”

He then spoke about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, launched by Putin in February 2022.

After praising Germany for its support for Ukraine, Stoltenberg called on NATO members to maintain military aid to kyiv.

“Russia continues its brutal war in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “We must continue to give Ukrainians the weapons they need to stay strong on the battlefield today, so they can be strong at the negotiating table tomorrow.”