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Russia accuses US of surpassing New START arms limits

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The national flags of Russia (L) and the US

Russia has raised concerns over the US implementation of the New START nuclear arms control treaty, accusing Washington of exceeding the agreed limit on the number of American launchers and bombers.

In a statement released on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said 56 US launchers and 41 heavy bombers had been removed from Washington's declared arsenal and Moscow was unable to confirm that they were no longer nuclear-capable.

The ministry also said four underground missile silos had been removed from the count.

"Thus, the figure allowed under the Treaty is exceeded by the United States by 101," the statement noted.

Russia has in the past raised similar concerns over Washington’s violation of the strategic arms control treaty.

A spokesman for the US State Department rejected the Russian statement on Monday and claimed that Washington was in “full compliance” with the treaty obligations.

New START was inked between Washington and Moscow under Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, then presidents of the US and Russia, in 2010. 

Russia and Washington agreed to extend the New START treaty earlier this year.

The treaty allows the two states to have no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. It also envisages a strict compliance verification process.

Russia had long called for extending the treaty — which was due to expire on February 5 — the way it is, but the administration of ex-US president Donald Trump only entered talks on the matter last year and conditioned the extension on a list of demands.

The negotiations then hit a stalemate as the two sides failed to hammer out differences.

New START is the last remaining nonproliferation deal between Russia and the US, after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), another key arms control treaty, expired in August 2019.


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