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US accuses Russia of violating key nuclear arms control treaty | Russia

The United States has accused Russia of violating the New START treaty, the last major pillar of nuclear arms control between the two countries since the end of the Cold War, saying Moscow refuses to allow inspection activities on its soil.

The treaty entered into force in 2011 and was extended in 2021 for another five years. It limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads the United States and Russia can deploy, as well as the number of land-based and submarine-launched missiles and bombers to deliver them.

The two countries that were tied together in a tangle of arms control agreements during the Cold War still together own about 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.

Washington has been keen to keep the treaty, but relations with Moscow are the worst in decades due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which could complicate the Joe Biden administration’s efforts to maintain and reach a subsequent agreement.

“Russia’s refusal to cooperate with inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the viability of US-Russian nuclear arms control,” a State Department spokesman said in an emailed comment.

In August, Moscow suspended cooperation with inspectorates under the treaty, blaming travel restrictions imposed by Washington and its allies after Russian troops invaded neighboring Ukraine last February, but said it remained committed to upholding the terms of the treaty.

The State Department spokesman added that Russia has a “clear path” to return to compliance by allowing inspection activities, and that Washington remains willing to work with Russia to fully implement the treaty.

“The New START treaty remains in the national security interest of the United States,” the spokesman said.

Talks between Moscow and Washington to resume New START inspections were due to take place in November in Egypt, but Russia has postponed them, accusing the US of “toxicity and hostility,” and neither side has set a new date.

On Monday, Russia told the United States that the treaty could expire in 2026 without replacement, as it said Washington was trying to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Moscow in Ukraine.

Asked if Moscow could foresee the absence of a nuclear arms control treaty after 2026, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state-owned new agency RIA: “That’s a very possible scenario.”

Since the invasion, the United States has provided more than $27 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including more than 1,600 Stinger air defense systems, 8,500 Javelin anti-tank missile systems, and 1 million 155mm artillery shells.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, rekindling Cold War-era fears of an apocalyptic war.

Shortly after taking office, Biden extended New START by five years through 2026, allowing time for negotiations while maintaining what the Democratic administration sees as an important existing treaty.

The previous Donald Trump administration tore up previous arms control agreements and was hesitant to keep New START in its current form, saying that any nuclear treaty must also include China, whose arsenal is growing rapidly but still vastly inferior to those of Russia and the United States. United States.

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