According to Russian diplomats, Russia has voiced that they will boycott the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. The news comes after Russia was absent from the summit planning session that took place last week in Washington. At the time, it was unclear what Russia's plans were regarding the summit. The diplomats that shared news of the boycott chose to remain anonymous, due to their lack of authority to discuss such things openly, and stated that any discussion of nuclear security would be handled on a "technical level" rather than openly at a summit, according to the Associated Press.
President Obama hopes that the summit will bring countries together to reduce the danger and threat of nuclear terrorism. Russia's boycott will remove them as a key player for the summit and may possibly influence smaller countries that Russia could pose a threat to. Russia's reason for dismissing itself from the summit is due to a "changed political atmosphere," which could refer to tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine.
During the last summit, 35 countries were in attendance and many countries committed to reducing their nuclear stocks considerably. Among those that committed, Japan, Belgium, and Italy pledged to a reduction. However, Russia refused the reduction commitment and China, Pakistan, and India followed suit. Despite the refusal of some nations to reduce their nuclear stockpiles, the number of countries that have enough nuclear material to build nuclear weapons has fallen to 25 from 39.
Concerns over Russia's boycott are causing other members of the summit to wonder what they are planning. Russia has one of the world's largest nuclear stockpiles and is a considerable power within the world. Their influence is just as great as the United States, Europe, Japan, and other countries. However, despite their absence, all of the other 54 countries are currently planning on attending the summit to discuss the future of nuclear arsenals and stockpiles.
Patrick Ventrell, spokesman for the National Security Council and the White House, responded to Russia's absence from last week's planning session on Monday.
"... [T]he door remains open to their joining future such meetings."Ventrell has not responded to Russia's official resignation and boycott from the summit. At this time, Vladimir Putin has not responded to the boycott either.
Although there are many questions as to Russia's true intentions for the boycott, it is assumed that their absence will be a discussion during the summit, even if behind closed doors. What do you feel about Russia boycotting the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit?
[Photo Courtesy: Phile News]