November 29, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Russia suspends US inspections of its military sites

Russia suspends US inspections of its military sites

Russia announced on Monday that it was suspending planned US inspections of its military sites under the New Start agreement, a key nuclear disarmament agreement between the two powers, vowing to act in response to US obstruction of similar Russian inspections in the United States.

Russia “officially notified” the United States on Monday that all sites subject to inspections under the New START agreement would be “temporarily excluded,” the Russian embassy said in a statement.

These include missile launch sites, as well as air and naval bases where nuclear missiles are deployed.

The announcement comes amid Russia’s offensive in Ukraine since February 24, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to praise the new “invincible” weapons Russia has developed.

“The Russian Federation was forced to resort to this action (…) due to the current facts that create unilateral interests for the United States and deprive Russia of its right to conduct inspections on American territory,” the press release said.

Russian diplomacy has cited difficulties in issuing visas, particularly due to restrictions on the travel of Russian inspectors and Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.

“American inspectors and their flight crews have not had similar difficulties,” the statement said.

However, Russia “highly appreciates” the deal’s “special role” in relations between Moscow and Washington in the nuclear field, he stressed.

Russia will “immediately” rescind the decision announced on Monday, the Russian embassy said, once issues related to the resumption of inspections within the framework of the agreement are resolved.

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The New START treaty is the latest bilateral agreement of its kind to bring together the world’s two major nuclear powers.

Signed in 2010, it limits the two nuclear powers’ arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 deployable warheads, a reduction of about 30% from the previous limit set in 2002. It limited the number of launchers and heavy bombers to 800. This is enough to destroy the Earth many times over.

In January 2021, Vladimir Putin extended it by five years until 2026.

Until now, Moscow and Washington have the right to conduct a little less than twenty mutual inspections a year within the framework of this agreement.