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Russia stops sending nuclear weapons information to US under faltering New START treaty

This photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service on Wednesday shows a Russian Armed Forces Yars missile launcher being piloted at an undisclosed location in Russia. PA

New Delhi: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday that Moscow had stopped sharing detailed information about its nuclear weapons with the United States, as outlined in the New START treaty, even as the Russian military began exercises with its Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers in Siberia.

According to a AlJazeera report, citing Russian news agencies, Ryabkov said that Moscow halted all exchanges of information with Washington after it suspended its participation in the New START nuclear arms treaty.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin suspended Russia’s participation in the treaty, saying Moscow could not agree to US inspections of its nuclear sites under the deal as Washington and its NATO allies have openly declared that the defeat of Moscow in Ukraine was their goal.

“There will be no notification,” Ryabkov said when asked if Moscow would also stop issuing notices about planned missile tests.

“All notifications, all kinds of notifications, all activities under the treaty will be suspended and will not be carried out regardless of any position the United States may take,” he added.

US stops sharing nuclear data

The United States said on Tuesday it would stop providing Moscow with detailed data on its stockpiles of nuclear weapons in response to the suspension of Russia’s participation in New START.

“Russia has not been fully compliant and has refused to share data that we…agreed in New START to share every two years,” AlJazeera quoted John Kirby, spokesman for the United States National Security Council.

“Since they refused to comply…we also decided not to share this data,” he added.

Speculation that Ryabkov’s comments on Wednesday could also refer to Russia’s suspension of information on ballistic missile launches – a hugely provocative move – under the 1988 deal was quickly brushed aside.

Pavel Podvig, an expert on Russian nuclear forces, tweeted that Ryabkov’s reference to the termination of notices in the context of New START indicated that Russia would continue to issue them in accordance with the 1988 pact.

“Russia’s refusal to comply legally invalid”

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

Although it was extended shortly after President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, New START has been strained by Russia’s war in Ukraine and has been on life support for more than a year. a month since Putin announced that Russia would no longer comply with his demands.

The treaty, which then-Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in 2010, limits each country to a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. The agreement provides for extensive on-site inspections to verify compliance.

Inspections have been dormant since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Talks of 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 officially suspended its participation in the treaty.

With contributions from agencies

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