Russia accuses US of 'destroying' New START legal frameworkRussia accuses US of 'destroying' New START legal framework

(AFP) Russia accused the United States on Wednesday (1) of having “destroyed the legal framework” of the New START treaty, the latest nuclear disarmament agreement between the two countries, a day after Washington’s accusations of Russian non-compliance with its obligations.

“We see that the United States has, in fact, destroyed the legal framework for arms control and nuclear security,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov lamented in a press talk, referring to a “sad situation.”

According to Peskov, Russia “considered that the maintenance of this treaty was very important.”

The Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoli Antonov, criticized actions on the part of the U.S. government that “undermine the fundamental goal of the agreement: to maintain the balance of the parties’ strategic offensive weapons.”

“Washington refuses to see the root causes of the problem, throwing the blame on others,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Russia “warned that (nuclear) arms control cannot be isolated from geopolitical reality. Under the current circumstances, we consider it unjustified, untimely and inappropriate to invite the US Army to our strategic facilities,” Antonov added.

In recent weeks, US diplomacy has criticized Russia for suspending inspections and canceling negotiations planned under that agreement. The pact was signed in 2010 and extended two years ago, until 2026.

On Tuesday (31), a State Department spokesman said that “Russia is not respecting its obligation under the New START treaty to facilitate inspection activities on its territory.”

Moscow’s attitude “threatens the viability of nuclear arms control between the United States and Russia,” a U.S. State Department spokesman said.

“To return to full compliance, all Russia needs to do is allow inspection activities on its territory, as it did for years under the New START Treaty, and meet in a session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission,” he said.

“There is nothing to prevent Russian inspectors from traveling to the United States and doing inspections,” he added.

Moscow announced in early August last year that it would suspend inspections of its military installations by American envoys under New START. It claimed it was responding to an American obstruction of Russian inspections – which Washington denies.

Russia then indefinitely postponed the dialogues under New START, which were to begin on November 29 in Cairo, accusing the United States of “toxicity and animosity.”

Relations between the two nuclear powers are at their lowest level since the start of Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine.

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