Russia makes ‘goodwill’ missile pledge to US
Russia will continue to inform the US about its ballistic missile launches despite Moscow suspending its participation in the New START treaty, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has stated.
Russia placed its participation in the New START treaty – the last remaining nuclear accord with Washington – on hold in February.
Explaining the move, President Vladimir Putin said that the 2010 deal had been signed under different circumstances, when Russia and the US did not perceive each other as adversaries. The West had also denied Russian requests to inspect nuclear facilities even though this was allowed for under the treaty, Putin claimed.
Speaking about data sharing between Moscow and Washington on Thursday, Ryabkov stated that “all types of information exchanges, as well as other elements of verification activities in accordance with the New START, have been suspended.”
However, he noted the announcement by Moscow that it will “adhere to the basic quantitative restrictions established in the New START treaty, and will continue to implement the 1988 agreement on the exchange of notifications on missile launches.” Russia will do so “out of good will,” Ryabkov added.
The New START treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by Russia and the US to 1,550. It also confines the two nations to 800 deployed and non-deployed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers and nuclear-capable heavy bombers, as well as to 700 ICBMs, SLBMs and strategic bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments.
Ryabkov said that Russia had informed the US of its decision to suspend participation in the New START treaty in both verbal and written form, but that Moscow had not received any such notification from Washington.
This means that the US violated its commitments under the New START treaty when it refused to provide Moscow with a biannual report on nuclear stockpiles earlier this week, Ryabkov argued.
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday that Washington was ready to continue exchanging information with Moscow in line with the New START treaty, but only on a reciprocal basis. “Since they [Russia] have refused to be in compliance… we have decided to likewise not share that data,” Kirby said.