Relations between the White House and the Kremlin have been souring of late, and that showed up in two tangible ways on Monday:
- Plutonium: Vladimir Putin suspended a pact with the US in which the two nations agreed to dispose of surplus plutonium that could otherwise go into weapons. The ramifications of this specific pact are limited, explains Reuters, but it carries "powerful symbolism" and could signal trouble ahead for more sweeping nuclear arms agreements. Moscow said the US "has done everything in its power to destroy the atmosphere of trust which could have encouraged cooperation," citing among other things sanctions placed on Russia over its role in Ukraine.
- Syria: The US, meanwhile, suspended contacts with Moscow in regard to Syria. The decision means the US will no longer negotiate with Russia over the resumption of a ceasefire or move ahead with plans for joint military operations, reports the Washington Post. The White House has been exasperated over the continued bombing of Aleppo and of humanitarian shipments. “Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments," says a spokesman, “and was also either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to the arrangements to which Moscow agreed.”
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