US Accuses Russia of Breaking Nuclear Arms Treaty

A Mark 6 nuclear bomb

The United States has accused Russia of breaking the New Start treaty, the last major treaty limiting nuclear arms production by the two nations.

The treaty entered into force in 2011 and was renewed for a further five years in 2021. It limits the amount of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy, as well as the number of land-based and submerged missiles and bombers that can deliver them.

As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, relations between the United States and Russia are at their lowest point in decades, which could hinder efforts by Joe Biden’s administration to maintain the pact and secure a successor accord.

Moscow ceased cooperation with inspections under the treaty in August, citing travel restrictions imposed by the United States and its allies after Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine in February of last year, but stated that it remained committed to compliance with the pact’s provisions.

Moscow and Washington were scheduled to hold talks in November in Egypt on resuming inspections under New Start, but Russia postponed them, blaming the United States of “toxicity and animosity” and neither party has established a new date.

Russia informed the United States on Monday that the treaty could expire in 2026 without a replacement because, according to Russia, the United States is attempting to inflict “strategic defeat”” on Moscow in Ukraine.

When asked if Moscow could foresee there being no nuclear arms limitation treaty beyond 2026, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told RIA: “This is quite a possible scenario.”

Since the invasion, the United States has provided Ukraine with about $27 billion in security aid, including over 1,600 Stinger anti-aircraft rocket systems, 8,500 Javelin anti-tank missile systems, and 1 million 155mm artillery rounds.