from: ELLEN KNICKMEYER, Associated Press
Published: Jan 31, 2023 / 12:10 PM PST
Updated: Jan 31, 2023 / 12:10 PM PST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia’s refusal to allow on-site inspections to continue threatens the New START nuclear deal and U.S.-Russian arms control as a whole, the Biden administration charged Tuesday.
The findings were submitted to Congress and summarized in a State Department statement. It followed months of hopeful US assessments that the two countries would be able to salvage cooperation on limiting strategic nuclear weapons despite high tensions over Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Both sides suspended inspections of U.S. and Russian military sites under the New START Treaty due to the spread of the coronavirus in March 2020. The U.S.-Russian committee overseeing the implementation of the agreement last met in October 2021, but Russia then unilaterally suspended cooperation with the inspection provisions of the agreement. in August 2022 to protest US support for Ukraine.
“Russia’s refusal to allow inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the sustainability of US-Russian nuclear arms control,” the State Department said on Tuesday.
The administration also blamed Russia for the two countries’ failure to resume talks required under the New START treaty.
Russia’s foreign ministry said last August it had told the US it was temporarily suspending on-site inspections required under the agreement. It says US sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have changed the terms between the two countries and claims the US is blocking the Russians from carrying out their own inspections of US sites.
The State Department denied on Tuesday that the US had blocked inspections by the Russians.
He insisted that US and Russian nuclear arms control efforts are critical to the security of the US, its allies and the world as a whole.
“It is even more important in times of tension when fences and clarity are paramount,” the State Department said.