The US accused Russia of violating the New START treaty by refusing to allow inspection activities on its territory.
“Russia’s refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevented the United States from exercising important treaty rights and threatened nuclear arms control between the two countries,” a State Department spokesman said. US delivery on January 31 said.
Russia in August suspended cooperation with inspections under the New START treaty, blaming travel restrictions imposed by Washington and its allies after Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February. last. However, Moscow claims to remain committed to the terms of the treaty.
The State Department spokesman added that Russia “has a clear path” to return to compliance with the treaty by allowing inspections, and that Washington remains ready to work with Moscow to fully implement the treaty. to wish.
“The New START treaty remains one of America’s national security concerns,” the person said.
The heads of the national security committees in the US Senate, which are responsible for ratifying the treaty, say Moscow’s failure to comply with the treaty will affect other future arms deals.
“Complying with New START treaty obligations will be critical to the Senate’s consideration of any future strategic arms control treaty with Moscow,” said Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, Jack Reed and Mark Warner said in a joint statement.
Menendez chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, while Reed heads the Senate Armed Services Committee and Warner heads the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The New START Treaty entered into force in 2011 and will be renewed for another five years in 2021. The treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy, as well as the deployment of missiles. and bombers to transport them.
Although constrained by some Cold War-era arms control agreements, the United States and Russia still account for about 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.
Washington has expressed a desire to keep the treaty, but relations with Moscow have plunged to their worst in decades because of the Ukraine conflict. This could complicate President Joe Biden’s efforts to maintain the pact and reach a deal.
Negotiations between Moscow and Washington to resume inspections under New START last November in Egypt, but Russia has postponed and neither side has set a new date.
Russia told the United States on Wednesday that the treaty could expire in 2026 without a replacement, as Washington tries to subject Moscow to a “strategic defeat” in Ukraine.
Asked if Moscow was thinking about the possibility of no nuclear control treaty after 2026, the Russian deputy foreign minister told RIA Novosti news agency that “this is a completely possible scenario”.
Thanh Tam (Theo Reuters)