MOSCOW, August 8. /TASS/. Russia has informed the United States that it is temporarily exempting its facilities from inspections under the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
"On August 8, 2022, the Russian Federation officially informed the United States via diplomatic channels that our country is temporarily exempting its facilities from inspection activities under the New START Treaty. This exemption also covers facilities that can be used for demonstrations under the treaty," it said.
"We would like to stress that these measures have temporary character," the ministry added.
The ministry stressed that Moscow was forced to do that because of "Washington’s tenacious desire to relaunch the inspection activities without prior arrangement on conditions that ignore the current realities, give the United States unilateral advantages and deprive Russia of the right to carry out inspections in the United States."
According to the ministry, the Russian side wants to ensure operation of all New START mechanisms in strict compliance with the principles of the parity and equality of the sides. These principles are not observed now because due to the unilateral anti-Russian sanctions normal air service between Russia and the United States has been interrupted and the airspace over a number of states has been closed for Russian planes that are to take Russian inspection teams to the United States.
"However, there are no such obstacles for American inspectors in Russia. The Russian foreign ministry raised this matter before corresponding countries but has received no response. Russian inspectors heading to the United States and Russian aircraft crews face additional problems, due to the toughening, as part of the Washington-induced unilateral anti-Russia restrictions again, of the visa regime in transit countries along their possible routes. American inspectors and aircraft crews face no such problems," the ministry stressed. "These and other problems the sides are continuing exchanges on via corresponding channels require solution and it would be too early to resume inspection activities under the treaty, which the US side is insisting on."
The ministry called for approaching the problem of resuming inspections under the New START treaty from the maximal realistic positions.
"We hope for the continuation of close cooperation with the American side. We have been calling and continue to call for considering the problem of resuming inspections under the treaty from maximally realistic positions," it said. "First of all, it means that its is necessary to take into account the epidemiological situation linked with COVID-19, which continues to be quite serious. Today, a tendency toward decreasing the coronavirus pandemic’s scale and reduction of corresponding risks is observed."
"We think that in the current situation, the sides should drop counterproductive attempts at pushing for the resumption of inspection activities under the START treaty and focus attention on thorough discussion of all problems in this sphere, the successful settlement of which would make it possible to get back to the full-format use of the treaty’s verification mechanisms the soonest possible," the ministry added.
The ministry also emphasized that Russia is fully committed to complying with all provisions of the Treaty.
"Russia is fully committed to complying with all provisions of the New START, which we see as the most important instrument for maintaining international security and stability. We appreciate its unique role in providing the necessary transparency and predictability in relations between Russia and the United States in the critical nuclear and missile sphere," the statement reads. "After the resolution of the existing problems and issues regarding the resumption of inspection activities under the treaty, the exemptions from inspection activities we have announced will be immediately canceled and it will be possible to conduct them in full again."
Russia is convinced, the statement reads, that this would be in the interests of both Moscow and Washington. "We are ready to contribute to achieving this goal. We expect the American side to make a similar approach," the foreign ministry said.