US Revokes Visas for Russian Nuclear Inspectors and Rejects Monitor Applications in Response to “New START” Suspension

US President Joe Biden’s administration responded to Russia’s suspension of the “New START” nuclear treaty by announcing on Thursday that it would revoke visas for Russian nuclear inspectors, reject pending applications for new monitors, and revoke standard clearances for Russian aircraft to enter US airspace.

The State Department said it was taking these and other steps in response to Russia’s “continued violations” of the New START treaty, the last remaining arms control treaty between the two countries, which are currently at loggerheads over Russia’s private military operation in Ukraine.

“The United States is committed to full and mutual implementation of the ‘New START’ Treaty. In line with this commitment, the United States has adopted legal countermeasures in response to Russia’s continued violations of the ‘New START’ Treaty,” the ministry added.

The department noted that the revocations of visas and denials of applications, as well as the decision by the United States to stop sharing information about the status or locations of missiles and telemetry data on test launches with Russia, are consistent with international law due to Russia’s actions.

She added that the United States will continue to notify Russia when it conducts test launches, adding that the steps it takes can be reversed provided Moscow returns to compliance with the treaty.

Russia suspended its participation in New START in February, in a move the United States said was “legally invalid”. Immediately afterward, Moscow scaled back its commitment to the agreement.

Allowing inspections of weapons sites and providing information on the status and test launches of ICBMs and submarines are critical components of New START, signed by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

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In March, the United States announced that it and Russia had stopped exchanging biannual nuclear weapons data. The United States had said it wanted to continue such sharing, but stopped after Moscow told Washington it would not share its data.

Although it was extended shortly after President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, New START was severely tested by the Russia-Ukraine war.

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2023-06-02 10:07:59

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