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Russian envoy blames US for raising tensions around New START

It was noted that various restrictions imposed by the United States and its allies against Moscow make Russian inspections under New START impossible
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

WASHINGTON, February 1. /TASS/. Moscow has been irreproachably observing the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and responsibility for the escalation of the treaty issues lies entirely with Washington, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said.

The envoy was asked to comment on the US Department of State’s report, which accused Russia of violating the treaty’s terms but noted that Moscow could return to compliance by allowing inspections on its soil and agreeing to a meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission. Antonov pointed out that "first of all, it is noteworthy how quickly this annual report has been prepared." "Its previous versions, which did not contain ‘sensational’ accusations, were usually published in April or even later," he added.

"This year, against the backdrop of a frenzied confrontation with Russia initiated by the West, the Administration has been clearly eager to throw at us yet another set of unfounded claims in the area of arms control. And for the first time ever - regarding New START which our country has been irreproachably observing for all these years. Unlike, by the way, Washington, on whose conscience lies the illegitimate removal of more than a hundred strategic weapons from the accountability under the Treaty," Antonov stated, as cited by the Embassy’s press service. He stressed that "these actions concern the central limits of New START, undermining the key goal of the agreement - to maintain the balance of the parties’ strategic offensive arms."

"As for the substance of the accusations regarding the temporary exemption of the Russian strategic facilities from the Treaty inspection regime and the postponed session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission, they follow the traditional US pattern. Washington refuses to see the root causes of the problem, shifting the blame to others," the Russian envoy emphasized.

He noted that Moscow had repeatedly "pointed out to the [US] Administration that the situation with New START is a direct result of the hybrid war unleashed by the West against our country." "We have warned that arms control cannot be isolated from geopolitical realities. In the current circumstances we consider it unjustified, untimely and inappropriate to invite the US military to our strategic facilities," the ambassador added.

"At the same time, Russia remains committed to the goals of the New START Treaty and continues to regard it as a useful instrument for maintaining strategic stability and ensuring predictability in relations between the major nuclear powers. We intend to continue observing the central limits of the Treaty and exchanging notifications and relevant data," Antonov said.

"Responsibility for the escalation of the New START issues lies entirely with Washington. There can be no progress on arms control without the United States reconsidering its policy of inflicting strategic defeat on Russia," the envoy concluded.

Suspension of inspections

Various restrictions imposed by the United States and its allies against Moscow make Russian inspections under New START impossible, Antonov said in response to a TASS question in August. According to him, the lack of regular flights between Russia and the US, the closure of airspace to Russian aircraft by US allies and problems in obtaining transit visas for inspectors and flight crews "created conditions, which impede, if not block, our ability to conduct inspections on the US territory."

Currently, the situation is not conducive for setting a new date for a session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission on New START, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said earlier in the month.

Moscow and Washington inked the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in 2010. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into force, each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on them, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. Russia and the US extended the ten-year treaty for another five years in February 2021.