Russia says Western sanctions prevent it from doing their jobs

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Russia says Western sanctions prevent it from doing their jobs

Russian inspectors are not able to do their jobs under the START treaty because western sanctions are preventing them from doing their jobs, Moscow says.

Moscow has informed Washington of a temporary withdrawal from the START nuclear disarmament treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

Russia claims that Western sanctions have prevented its inspectors from performing their duties, giving them an unfair advantage over their US counterparts, because of provisions in the document for exceptional circumstances. The statement said that once the principle of parity and equality is restored, the previous arrangements will resume.

Moscow cited anti-Russian unilateral measures imposed by the US and its allies, such as visa restrictions on Russian inspectors and a ban on Russian aircraft in US and EU airspace. These restrictions make Russian inspections impossible under the treaty, while the Americans don't experience such difficulties. The Russian Federation is now forced to resort to this measure because of Washington's persistent desire to re-impose inspection activities on conditions that do not take into account existing realities, create unilateral advantages for the United States and effectively deprive the Russian Federation of the right to carry out inspections on American soil, the Foreign Ministry said.

Russia raised the issue with the relevant countries but did not receive an answer. Until these problems are resolved, it would be premature to resume inspection activities under the START Treaty, on which the American side insists. Moscow cited the section of the treaty protocol that covers extraordinary circumstances as justification for the measure. Washington has been informed through diplomatic channels.

We would like to emphasize that the measures we have taken are temporary. Russia is fully committed to complying with all the provisions of the START Treaty, which in our eyes is the most important instrument for maintaining international security and stability, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The inspections can resume in full as soon as the existing problems are resolved, according to Moscow.

In 2011 the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as New START, limits the number of nuclear warheads and their delivery vehicles that the US and Russia are allowed to possess. After the US withdrawal from the INF and Open Skies treaties in recent years, it is the only remaining arms control agreement between the two nuclear powers. The new START was almost expired before it was extended in February 2021, and is supposed to be in effect until 2026.

Russia talks on a new treaty, which would include China, but Russian President Joe Biden said last week that it had received only declarative statements and not concrete proposals.