US retaliates against Russia over nuclear treaty
The US will stop sharing information required under Washington’s last remaining nuclear arms treaty with Russia in retaliation to Moscow’s decision earlier this year to suspend participation in the agreement amid tensions over the Ukraine conflict.
“The United States has adopted lawful countermeasures in response to the Russian Federation’s ongoing violation of the New START Treaty,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday. He claimed that Russia’s suspension of the treaty was “legally invalid” and that Moscow remained bound by its obligations under the agreement.
Nevertheless, Washington will scale back its own commitments under the 2010 pact, which capped the number of warheads and the means of their delivery, in order to “induce” Russian compliance, Blinken said. He added that Moscow had been notified about Washington’s decision in advance, and that the US was ready to “reverse the countermeasures and fully implement the treaty if Russia returns to compliance.”
The unveiled measures include refusing to provide required notifications on the status and location of treaty-accountable missiles and launchers, as well as revoking the diplomatic privileges and visas of Russia’s New START inspectors. Likewise, the US will no longer provide telemetric data on its missile launches, Blinken said.
Russia suspended its participation in the treaty in February, accusing the US of violating the agreement and citing Washington’s anti-Russia policies. Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov accused the US at the time of enabling Kiev to carry out drone attacks on Russian bases that host the country’s nuclear-capable bombers.
The Russian embassy released a statement on Friday, reiterating that Moscow had suspended the treaty in “full accordance” with international law.
“We have taken into account the countermeasures announced by the US,” the embassy said. It added that “Washington must abandon its hostile policies and the intent to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia” in order for the New START to function normally.
At the same time, according to the embassy, Moscow “continues to abide by the central restrictions” enshrined in the treaty, which allows it to “maintain a sufficient level of predictability and stability in the nuclear sphere.”