Russia said Wednesday that it will no longer give the United States advance notice of its missile tests — a month after suspending its participation in the most recent nuclear arms agreement between the two countries.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters that Russia will halt the information exchange after suspending “implementation” of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
“There will be no notifications at all,” Rybakov said, according to Russian news agencies.
“All notifications, all kinds of notifications, all activities under the treaty, will be suspended and will not be conducted regardless of what position the US may take,” he said.
New START calls for Washington and Moscow to share information about the current state of their nuclear forces every six months.
The two countries have also exchanged warnings about upcoming test launches.
Those alerts reduce the likelihood that a test launch will be misinterpreted as a missile attack by either side.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his intention to suspend the treaty in a rambling speech to the country’s parliament last month, claiming that the US and NATO cannot inspect Russian nuclear sites because they have declared war on the country over its invasion of Ukraine.
“The US and NATO openly say that their goal is to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. And what – after that, they are going to drive around our defense facilities, including the newest ones, as if nothing had happened?” Putin said just days before the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Putin said on Saturday said he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus.
Ryabkov’s Wednesday comments followed a Tuesday statement from the Biden administration that the US would no longer share its nuclear weapons data with Russia every six months.
“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,” said State Department spokesman Vedant Patel.
Ryabkov claimed that despite the end of the information exchange, Russia will continue to adhere to the limits on nuclear warheads allowed under the agreement.
“We have voluntarily made commitments to adhere to the central quantitative limits set by that treaty,” he said. “That’s it. Our position does not depend on whether the Americans will or will not hand over their data to us.”
The treaty was signed in 2010 by Washington and Moscow and was extended for five more years in 2021.
It limits both sides to 1,550 warheads and 700 deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers.
It also calls for routine inspections to ensure compliance, but those have rarely taken place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, with close to 6,000 warheads, experts say.
With Post wires