WASHINGTON, August 24. /TASS/. The restrictions imposed by the United States and their allies against Moscow have rendered Russian inspections under the New START Treaty impossible, Russia’s Ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said on Tuesday.
"After the inspection activity under the New START Treaty was `frozen’ in 2020 due to COVID-19, we engaged in an active dialogue with the Americans on its resumption. We used the appropriate diplomatic channels including the Bilateral Consultative Commission. We were able to solve a number of organizational and technical issues related to conducting inspections during the pandemic. However, the process was seriously complicated by the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by Washington," the Russian envoy said.
The diplomat cited the lack of normal air services between Russia and the US, closure of airspace to Russian aircraft by US allies and problems in obtaining transit visas for inspectors and flight crews which he said "have created conditions which impede, if not block, our ability to conduct inspections on the US territory." He also said State Department claims to the contrary were not true.
At a briefing on Monday, Ned Price, spokesman for the US Department of State, said the sanctions imposed by Washington were "fully compatible" with New START and did "not prevent" Russian inspectors from conducting inspections under the treaty in the United States.
Russia earlier informed the United States that it was temporarily pausing inspections at its facilities covered by the New START Treaty. The Russian Foreign Ministry explained that Moscow was forced to resort to such actions "due to Washington’s persistence in implicitly restarting inspections on conditions that do not take into account the existing realities, create unilateral advantages for the United States and actually strip Russia of the right to carry out inspections on US soil.".