Russia To Stop Inspections Under New Start Treaty

The Russian Defense Ministry let it be known, yesterday, that it will stop foreign inspections under the New START Treaty and the 2011 Vienna Document, in response to the U.S. announcement, last week, that the Department of Defense will suspend military engagements with Russia. “Since such inspections are a confidence-building measure, there can be no normal regular bilateral contacts on compliance with the treaty now that the U.S. has basically announced `sanctions’,” a highly placed Defense Ministry source told Itar-Tass. “We take the unjustified U.S. and NATO threats against Russia over its policy with regard to Ukraine as an unfriendly gesture that allows us to declare force majeure.”

Itar-Tass usefully explains that, under the New START, inspections of each side’s nuclear forces is the main instrument of compliance with the treaty. The Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures and Disarmament, adopted by the OSCE in 2011, similarly provides for inspections of specific areas and units in order to oversee military activities and make annual assessments of information provided by each member state.

A few hours before the Itra-Tass story was posted, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, whose portfolio includes oversight of Russia’s military industries, called for strengthening the Russian military in the face of U.S. and NATO threats. “I hope that after the overt threats by the U.S. and NATO, nobody will doubt the necessity of rearming our army and fleet, and of reviving our defense industry and military science,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

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