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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

At his press conference at the NATO meeting in Brussels, President Trump said he would discuss with Vladimir Putin both Russia's violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, originally negotiated in 1987 by President Reagan, and the potential extension of the 2010 New START accord.

Why it matters: Trump and Putin together control more than 90% of the world’s nuclear stockpile, and it's Russian nuclear weapons pointed toward the U.S. that present the greatest existential threat to its national security.

The INF treaty eliminated all American and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. New START reduced both countries’ strategic nuclear arsenals while advancing robust inspections. Both agreements made the world safer, yet Russia may be violating the INF treaty and New START is set to expire in two years.

Why it matters: If Trump and Putin do not address these nuclear issues, their failure would not only betray the hollowness of their claims to a strong working relationship but would also pose grave risks to global security. European confidence in American support would disintegrate, skepticism about America’s willingness to stand up to Russian aggression would intensify and critical strategic pillars of U.S.–Russian nuclear stability would go up in smoke.

Joel Rubin is the president of the Washington Strategy Group and a former deputy assistant secretary of state.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Science

Blizzard likely to hit New England this weekend as "bomb cyclone" forms

Computer model projection of the precipitation and wind field from the weekend storm in the Northeast. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A powerful blizzard is likely to strike parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday and lasting into the weekend, with snow totals that are likely to be measured in feet.

The big picture: The joining of weather systems embedded in both the polar, or northern branch, of the jet stream and the southern branch is projected to create a bomb cyclone. Such storms undergo a process known as bombogenesis, with their minimum central air pressure readings plunging at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

Schumer vows to confirm Breyer replacement "with all deliberate speed"

Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer responded Wednesday to reports that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire, commending his time on the bench and promising to confirm President Biden's nominated replacement "with all deliberate speed."

Why it matters: The opportunity to appoint a new Supreme Court justice will be one of the longest-lasting pieces of Biden's legacy and could energize Democrats ahead of the midterms.

48 mins ago - World

Scoop: Israel's "top priority" mission to discredit UN probe

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the UN. Photo: John Minchillo/Pool via Getty

Israel is planning a campaign to discredit a UN commission formed to investigate the violence in Gaza last May and the root causes of the protracted conflict in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry cable seen by Axios.

Why it matters: Israeli officials say they are highly concerned that the commission’s report will refer to Israel as an "Apartheid state" and that its findings could damage Israel's reputation, particularly among progressives in the West. The report is expected in June.