The European Union believes that Russia should comply with its obligations under the New START treaty with the United States on the reduction of strategic offensive arms and permit US inspections envisaged by the document, the EU External Action Service said in a statement.
“The EU calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under the Treaty by facilitating New START inspections on Russian territory, and participating in the Treaty’s implementation body, the Bilateral Consultative Commission within the treaty-established timeframe,” the document says.
Last fall, Russia postponed the Bilateral Consultative Commission’s meeting indefinitely. Among other things, the commission sets dates for upcoming inspections.
The EU foreign policy service expressed its regret about Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the treaty, which, in its opinion, undermines the European security framework.
“By increasing predictability and mutual confidence amongst the two largest nuclear weapon States, this Treaty limits strategic competition and increases strategic stability,” it said.
The Treaty between the United States and Russia on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) was signed in 2010 and took effect on February 5, 2011.
The decision to suspend Moscow’s participation in the document was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address delivered on Tuesday. He stressed that before resuming discussions on further work within the framework of the treaty, Russia would like to clarify how the arsenals of other NATO nuclear powers – Great Britain and France – would be counted in the treaty alongside the US’ nuclear potential.
In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the decision may be reversible if the United States makes efforts to resume its full-fledged functioning of the treaty. Also, Russia will remain committed to the restrictions on strategic offensive weapons under the treaty as long as it is in force.
The ministry stressed that Russia will continue to exchange notifications with the United States about launches of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) on the basis of the corresponding agreement between the former Soviet Union and the United States of 1988.
According to the ministry, Russia will keep a close eye on the actions of the United States and its allies “both in the area of strategic offensive weapons and in the area of international security and strategic stability in general and analyze these actions for possible harm to Russia’s interests.”.