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US substantially violating New START central provisions for years, says Russian envoy

Anatoly Antonov stressed that it was Washington that was responsible for the fact that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) had not yet entered into force

WASHINGTON, February 28. /TASS/. The United States has for many years substantially violated the central provisions of the Strategic Offensive Arms Reduction and Limitation Treaty (New START), Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday.

The Russian envoy thus responded to a media request to comment on the remarks by US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Mallory Stewart who tried to blame Moscow for the situation around the New START Treaty.

"The [US] Administration’s way of shifting blame has long been no surprise to us. However, to unbiased observers the flaws of the U.S. logic are obvious," the Russian embassy’s press office quoted the ambassador as saying.

"Washington has launched and dragged its European allies into a large-scale hybrid war against Russia. It openly declares its goal to inflict a strategic defeat on our country. And at the same time, as if nothing has happened, it insists on the inspection of our bases which store strategic nuclear weapons. It is the same bases that have been attacked by Ukraine with the help of the Pentagon. Where is the adherence to the spirit and letter of New START and its key goal of strengthening the security of Treaty parties? There is nothing but a brazen desire to ‘probe’ the protection of our strategic facilities," the Russian envoy stressed.

"Nor is it possible to dispute the fact that for many years Washington has substantially violated the central provisions of New START. Following a procedure not agreed upon with Russia, it declares SLBM launchers and heavy bombers incapable of carrying out nuclear missions. More than a hundred of them have been illegitimately withdrawn from the Treaty’s counting rules. Our inspectors have never been given the opportunity to verify the results of the ‘conversion,’" Antonov said.

Surprisingly, the US State Department’s representative accused Moscow of ‘nuclear threats,’ including with regard to Russia ensuring that everything is ready to conduct nuclear tests if the United States takes such a step first, the Russian envoy pointed out.

"She claimed that responsible nuclear powers do not resort to such rhetoric. Apparently, Assistant Secretary Stewart forgot that several years ago there were open discussions in Washington about the possibility of nuclear testing. And high-ranking Pentagon officials stated that it could be done within a few months," he went on to say.

It is Washington that is responsible for the fact that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has not yet entered into force, the Russian ambassador pointed out.

"If the United States were a responsible nuclear power, it would have ratified the CTBT long ago. It is Washington that is responsible for the fact that the treaty has not yet entered into force. Other states on which the fate of the CTBT depends look at the U.S. policy for cues. Why would they hurry if the Administration is unwilling to put a legal end to nuclear testing?" Antonov stressed.

The New START Treaty signed between Russia and the United States stipulates nuclear arsenal reductions by both countries. In his annual address to the Federal Assembly on February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the New START Treaty. The Russian leader explained that changes were long overdue as there were also other nuclear powers in NATO, apart from the United States. Before continuing the work under the treaty, Russia needs to understand how their nuclear arsenals will be counted, Putin stressed.