US says Russia not complying with last remaining nuclear treaty

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Tuesday that Russia was not complying with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the last remaining arms control treaty between the world’s two main nuclear powers, as tensions soar over the Ukraine war.

Responding to a request from Congress, the State Department faulted Russia for suspending inspections and cancelling talks but did not accuse its Cold War rival of expanding nuclear warheads beyond agreed limits.

“Russia is not complying with its obligation under the New START to facilitate inspection activities on its territory,” a State Department spokesperson said, charging that Moscow’s refusal “threatens the viability of US-Russian nuclear arms control.”

“Russia has a clear path for returning to full compliance. All Russia needs to do is allow inspection activities on its territory, just as it did for years under the New START Treaty, and meet in a session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission,” he said, referring to the formal talks set up under the treaty.

“There is nothing preventing Russian inspectors from travelling to the United States and conducting inspections.”

Moscow announced in early August that it was suspending US inspections of its military sites under New START. It said it was responding to American obstruction of inspections by Russia, a charge denied by Washington.

Diplomacy between the two powers has ground to a bare minimum over the past year as the United States leads a drive to punish Russia economically and arm Ukraine with billions of dollars in weapons as it fights back an invasion from Moscow.

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