Russia announced on Monday that it was suspending planned US inspections of its military sites under the New Start treaty, a key nuclear disarmament agreement between the two powers, saying it was acting in response to US obstacles to inspections Russians similar to the United States.
Russia “officially informed” the United States on Monday that all of its sites subject to inspections under the New Start treaty would be “temporarily exempt,” Russian diplomacy said in a statement.
It these include missile launch bases, as well as air and naval bases where nuclear missiles are deployed.
This announcement comes at the height of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, underway since February 24, and while Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to praise the new “invincible” weapons developed by Russia.
“The Federation of Russia is compelled to resort to this measure (…) due to the existing realities which create unilateral advantages for the United States and deprive Russia of its right to carry out inspections on American territory,” the statement said. .
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Russian diplomacy cites obstacles in particular to the trips of Russian inspectors and the difficulties related to the issuance of visas, caused by the Western sanctions imposed on Moscow because of the Ukrainian conflict.
“U.S. inspectors and their aircraft crew members do not have similar difficulties,” the statement said.
However, Russia “greatly appreciates the unique role” of the treaty in relations between Moscow and Washington in the nuclear field, he underlines.
Once the problems related to the resumption of inspections under the treaty have been resolved, Russia will “immediately” reverse its announced decision Monday, says Russian diplomacy.
The United States declined to criticize this announcement.
Washington respects the New Start treaty “but we keep discussions between the parties regarding the application of the treaty confidential,” a State Department spokesperson told AFP.
“The principles of mutual reciprocity, predictability and stability will continue to guide the United States' approach,” he added.
The New Start treaty is the latest bilateral agreement of its kind binding the two major nuclear powers in the world.
Signed in 2010, it limits the arsenals of the two countries to a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads each, a reduction of almost 30% compared to the previous limit set in 2002 It also limits the number of launchers and heavy bombers to 800, which is still enough to destroy the Earth several times over.
In January 2021, Vladimir Putin extended it for five years, until 2026 .
So far, Moscow and Washington each had the right to carry out a little less than twenty inspections s mutual funds per year under this treaty.