US Announces ‘Countermeasures’ to Russia’s Suspension of Nuclear Treaty

by | Jun 1, 2023

US Announces ‘Countermeasures’ to Russia’s Suspension of Nuclear Treaty

by | Jun 1, 2023

FILE PHOTO: President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev are seen after signing the New START treaty in Prague, Czech Republic, April 8, 2010. (Credit: State Department)

The Joe Biden administration said it will walk away from some of its obligations under the landmark New START Treaty after the Kremlin ended its participation in the agreement earlier this year.

A State Department fact sheet published on Thursday outlined “Four lawful countermeasures in response to the Russian Federation’s ongoing violations of the New START Treaty,” saying Moscow was notified in advance about the retaliatory move, which it deemed “proportionate” and “reversible.”

Of the four countermeasures, the most significant calls to bar all Russian inspectors from visiting US territories. However, inspections were halted due to pandemic restrictions imposed in 2020. 

The State Department maintains that Russian officials could have resumed inspections last year but chose not to, though Moscow says it could not send staff to the United States due to US sanctions. 

Another countermeasure involves limiting information-sharing with the Kremlin, with the fact sheet stating that Washington would withhold “notifications required under the treaty, including updates on the status or location of treaty-accountable items such as missiles and launchers.”

Additionally, the US will no longer share data about future missile tests, including “telemetric information on launches of US ICBMs and SLBMs,” the State Department said. Previously, on March 30, Washington declined to send Moscow a biannual data package. 

While the Biden administration claims to want Russian compliance with the New START treaty, it continues to make decisions which cross the Kremlin’s stated ‘red lines.’ In March, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that one of the reasons Moscow suspended its participation in the New START treaty was because the US helped Ukraine attack a facility housing Russian nuclear weapons.

In recent weeks, Kiev has launched a series of raids on Russian soil, including two drone attacks on Moscow itself. At the same time, Washington has expanded its sanctions regime on Russia, creating additional obstacles for communication. 

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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