WASHINGTON — The United States announced Thursday that it will stop providing key information about its nuclear weapons to Russia, in retaliation for Moscow's decision to withdraw fromthe New START treaty.
The move could increase nuclear tensions, especially if Russia continues to launch nuclear threats against Ukraine or the West.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. January 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Biden administration officials said they do not believe suspending information sharing increases the risk of nuclear weapons being used in Ukraine, but said the treaty had in the past helped the United States and Russia better understand how each country operated.
In February, Russia announced that it would suspend its participation in New START.
For several months, the United States continued with the notifications required by the treaty.
But on Thursday, the United States said it would take the same steps as Russia.
The State Department said the United States would stop allowing nuclear site inspections required by the treaty, stop providing information on the movement of missiles or launchers and stop providing key telemetry data on its tests of intercontinental missiles and submarines.
The announcement comes ahead of remarks planned Friday by Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, at the annual meeting of the Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan group that promotes arms control policies, in Washington.
The United States said it would continue to notify Russia when it intends to conduct a missile test launch.
Russia has also agreed to notify when it moves strategic bombers, and the United States said it would do the same.
Problems with New START provisions began long before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
New START inspections were interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic when travel restrictions prevented inspectors from entering either country.
But when those restrictions were lifted, Russia continued to deny access to U.S. inspectors.
(Russia accused the U.S. of not allowing inspections either, but U.S. officials have insisted they were willing to allow them as long as Russia did.)
c.2023 The New York Times Company