US-Russia nuclear weapons inspection must as per New START Treaty, says US

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The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden stated on Thursday that unless the two countries’ nuclear weapons installations are inspected again, talks on a treaty to replace the previous agreement restricting strategic nuclear forces between the two countries cannot proceed. 

The White House National Security Council spokesperson stated in an email that “the first step is to resume inspections under the existing New START Treaty and we have been trying to work with the Russians toward that end.” She was referring to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that the two nations signed in 2010. 

In another email, a spokeswoman for the State Department echoed this assertion.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the parties decided to suspend inspections of one other’s strategic nuclear weapons installations in March 2020. As tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have brought ties to their iciest point since the Cold War, discussions on restarting inspections have been going on for the past year without producing an agreement. 

The U.S. spokespeople were responding to reports this week from state-run Russian news agencies, which cited Russian officials as stating that the parties were debating the possibility of holding a meeting of a consultative panel to discuss New START-related matters. 

The NSC spokeswoman stated that the United States is ready to cooperate with Russia within the commission “to overcome implementation concerns” and that there is “no reason that these issues cannot be properly resolved.”

The largest nuclear-armed nations in the world have declared themselves open to negotiations on a “framework” that would replace New START, the last agreement that placed restrictions on the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons and the missiles, aircraft, and submarines that carry them. 

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The deal, which was set to expire on February 5, 2021, was extended by Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after Biden took office last year. 

As per the agreement, the US and Russia agreed to limit the number of long-range missiles and bombers they might deploy to 700 and 1,550 strategic nuclear weapons, respectively. By the deadline of 2018, both parties fulfilled those obligations. 

Up to 18 inspections of strategic nuclear weapons facilities can be carried out annually by either side to verify if the other is complying with the treaty’s limits.

(with inputs from agencies)
 

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