The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that Washington has been officially informed through diplomatic channels of a temporary freeze on US inspections of its nuclear weapons under the inspection regime of the New START nuclear disarmament treaty since Western sanctions are preventing Russian inspectors from doing their jobs.
Russia claims anti-Russian unilateral restrictive measures have prevented its inspectors from performing their duties and hampered similar inspections of US facilities by Russian monitors, thus giving an unfair advantage to their US counterparts.
The Ministry listed the restrictive measures, the visa restrictions on Russian inspectors and the ban on Russian aircraft in US and EU airspace imposed by the US and its allies were cited under the “exceptional circumstances” – provisions in the treaty protocol- as reasons for its decision, adding in its statement that previous arrangements will resume once the principle of parity and equality is restored.
Moscow stressed that while the Americans do not experience such difficulties, these restrictions effectively make Russian inspections under the treaty impossible and noted that Russia did not receive an answer although it previously raised this issue with the relevant countries.
The Foreign Ministry pointed out that the Russian Federation is now forced to resort to this measure until the problems are resolved.
Moscow argues that the problems are stemming from Washington’s persistent desire to implicitly restart inspection activities on conditions that create unilateral advantages for the US, and, since they do not take into account existing realities, effectively deprive Russia of the right to carry out inspections on American soil.
Stressing Russia’s commitment to comply with all the provisions of the START Treaty, the Foreign Ministry reiterated that the measures taken are temporary since Moscow considers the treaty the most important instrument for maintaining international security and stability.
The New START, the only remaining arms control agreement between the two nuclear powers, went into effect in 2011 and is supposed to remain in effect until 2026. It limits the number of nuclear warheads and their delivery vehicles that both the US and Russia are allowed to possess.