The US accuses Russia of violating the nuclear weapons treaty

Washington: Russia is violating the provisions of the New START treaty on nuclear arms reduction by refusing to allow inspectors on its territory and blocking US efforts to discuss the issue, the State Department said on Tuesday.

The ministry said in a statement that the Russian refusal “prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the viability of US-Russian nuclear arms control.”

A Russian warship fires a cruise missile at a target in Ukraine.

A Russian warship fires a cruise missile at a target in Ukraine.Credit:AP

The US and Russia have extended the New START treaty by five years in 2021, giving the former Cold War rivals time to resume talks on strategic security. However, inspections have been halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the US says Russia rebuffed efforts to resume those visits last August, in part because of tensions surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A US bid to resume consultations in Cairo in recent months also fell through.

The US-Russia treaty aims to limit the deployment of intercontinental-range nuclear weapons on either side by allowing frequent reviews of each country’s programs. Under the agreement, both countries are allowed to deploy up to 700 ICBMs and 1,550 nuclear warheads on those missiles.


If New START is terminated or phased out, the nuclear arsenals of the world’s two largest nuclear powers would have no treaty limitations for the first time since the 1970s. Neither side would be able to inspect the other’s inventories.

The warning from Washington comes as the US and its allies have been sending increasingly sophisticated weapons to Ukraine in a bid to drive Russian forces out of their territory, despite being wary of being drawn into a war with a nuclear power.

US and NATO officials have lashed out at Putin for “nuclear saber-rattling” over his threatening rhetoric since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian officials have been less vocal about nuclear threats in recent months, particularly after Chinese President Xi Jinping said in the fall that he opposed the use of nuclear force in Europe. The US accuses Russia of violating the nuclear weapons treaty

Callan Tansill

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