The file photo shows lawmakers during a session of Russia’s lower house of parliament, known as the State Duma. (Photo by AFP)
Members of the Russian parliament have unanimously approved a decision by President Vladimir Putin to suspend cooperation with the United States on a nuclear deal.
During a Wednesday session, lawmakers in the lower house of the parliament, known as the State Duma, endorsed the move that would see Moscow suspend the deal with Washington on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium.
During the parliamentary meeting, officials from the Kremlin said the suspension was only a beginning and Russia could adopt more "painful" measures in response to the United States’ hostile policies.
Putin said earlier this month that Russia would no longer stick to the deal, which was once a symbol of US-Russia rapprochement. The Russian president said the suspension was necessary due to the “emerging threat to strategic stability as a result of US unfriendly actions.”
Washington and Moscow were supposed to each dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium, enough material for about 17,000 nuclear warheads.
Tensions between Russia and the US escalated in 2014 over the crisis in Ukraine. Russia has accused the US of deliberately using the conflict to heap pressure on Moscow. Washington and its European allies have imposed economic and military sanctions on Russia since Crimea opted in a referendum to rejoin the Russian Federation in March 2014.
Russia and the United States have also clashed over the situation in northern Syria, where the West accuses Moscow of committing war crimes. The Kremlin rejects the allegation.
Putin has vowed that he will restore the nuclear cooperation with Washington once the United States revokes its sanctions and withdraws its forces deployed near Russia's borders.