US, Russia stop sharing nuke data under faltering New START

AP , Tuesday 28 Mar 2023

The United States and Russia have stopped sharing biannual nuclear weapons data under the faltering New START treaty, the last arms control pact between the two countries, US officials said Tuesday.

Russian ballistic missile test
File Photo: In this file photo taken from a video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, on Dec. 9, 2020, a rocket launches from missile system as part of a ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile test launched from the Plesetsk facility in northwestern Russia. The United States and Russia have stopped sharing biannual nuclear weapons data under the faltering New START arms control treaty. US officials say they had offered to continue to provide such information to Russia even after President Vladimir Putin suspended Russia s participation in the treaty, but that Moscow had declined to share its own data. AP


Officials at the White House, Pentagon and State Department said the US had offered to continue providing this information to Russia even after President Vladimir Putin suspended Russia’s participation in the treaty last month, but Moscow informed Washington that it would not be sharing its own data.

“Because of Russia’s noncompliance with these obligations under the treaty, the United States will not provide its biannual data exchange to Russia either, in order to encourage Russia to return to compliance with the treaty,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

The White House, which has previously accused Russia of multiple violations of the treaty, has said Russia's refusal to comply is “legally invalid” and the decision to withhold the nuclear data is yet another violation.

Despite being extended shortly after President Joe Biden took office in January, 2021, New START has been severely tested by Russia’s war in Ukraine and has been on life support for more than a month since Putin announced Russia would no longer comply with its requirements.

The treaty, which then-Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in 2010, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. The agreement envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.

The inspections have been dormant since 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussions on resuming them were supposed to have taken place in November 2022, but Russia abruptly called them off, citing US support for Ukraine.

In February, Russia formally suspended it participation in the treaty.

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