FILE PHOTO: Delegates from Russia attend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York, New York, United States, August 1, 2022. REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado/File Photo
Por Humeyra Cotton
WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday accused Russia of violating the New START Treaty, the last major pillar of post-Cold War nuclear arms control between the two countries, saying Moscow refuses to allow inspection activities in his territory.
The treaty entered into force in 2011 and was extended for five more years in 2021. It limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy, as well as the deployment of land and submarine missiles and bombers to carry them.
The two countries, which were constrained during the Cold War by a tangle of arms control agreements, together still possess about 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.
Washington has been eager to preserve the treaty, but ties with Moscow are the worst in decades because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could complicate attempts by President Joe Biden’s administration to maintain and reach a follow-on deal. .
“Russia’s refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important treaty rights and threatens the viability of US-Russian nuclear arms control,” a State Department spokesperson said in emailed comments.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that “arms control cannot be isolated from geopolitical realities” and that Russia considered it inappropriate to invite the US military to its strategic installations at this time. .
Antonov stated that Russia would nevertheless abide by the other terms and limitations of New START.
Leaders of the US Senate homeland security committees, which must approve the treaties, said Moscow’s failure to comply would affect future arms pacts.
Moscow in August suspended cooperation with inspections under the treaty, blaming travel restrictions imposed by Washington and its allies after Russian forces invaded neighboring Ukraine in February last year, but said it remained committed to compliance. of the provisions of the treaty.
Talks between Moscow and Washington on resuming inspections under New START were due to take place in Egypt in November, but were postponed by Russia and neither party has set a new date.
On Monday, Russia told the United States that the treaty could expire in 2026 without a replacement because, in its view, Washington was trying to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Moscow in Ukraine.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Daphne Psaledakis and Rami Ayyub, additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool and Kim Coghill, editing in Spanish by José Muñoz in the Gdańsk newsroom)
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