The White House announced on Tuesday that it will no longer send the Kremlin data on its nuclear weapons. Under the New Start treaty, the US and Russia agreed to share such information. However, Moscow has suspended its involvement in the pact amid rapidly deteriorating relations with Washington.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the White House made the decision after concluding Russia is in violation of the landmark arms control treaty, hoping the move will push Moscow to resume full compliance.
“As a lawful countermeasure intended to encourage Russia to return to compliance with the treaty, the United States will likewise not provide its biannual data update to Russia,” Kirby said. “The United States informed Russia in advance of this step. In the interest of strategic stability, the United States will continue to promote public transparency on our nuclear force levels and posture.” He added that Moscow was also no longer sharing nuclear data with the US.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later appeared to contradict Kirby, saying there has been no contact between the two sides regarding the New Start agreement.
Russia officially suspended its participation in the treaty on March 1, but the Kremlin said it would continue to comply with the nuclear weapons caps set under the agreement. Moscow’s top diplomat said “our readiness to adhere to the caps on strategic nuclear arms in the treaty is nothing more than a goodwill gesture.”
The Kremlin argued US travel restrictions on Russian officials prevented them from inspecting the American nuclear stockpile.
As of Monday, Washington also said it is not changing its nuclear posture, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stating that the administration has not seen “any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.”
The New Start treaty was the last arms control agreement between the US and Russia. The agreement caps the number of nuclear weapons each country may deploy at any given time, and requires periodic inspections and the transfer of nuclear data.