Russia Should Agree to Resume Inspections, Discuss Follow-On To New START

For Immediate Release: Feb. 3, 2023

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext. 107; Shannon Bugos, senior policy analyst, 202-463-8270 ext. 114

(Washington DC) —Experts from the Arms Control Association called upon Russia to comply with its obligations to allow for on-site inspections to verify compliance with the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and to engage in further nuclear disarmament diplomacy with the United States.

“It is in Russia’s self-interest to resume on-site inspections and to engage in talks with the United States to hammer out new nuclear arms control framework agreement to supersede New START before it expires in three years, on Feb. 5, 2026,” says Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

“Russia’s failure to allow for the resumption of New START inspections is irresponsible and unnecessary, especially at this time of heightened tensions and uncertainties,” says Kimball. “Maintaining common sense limits on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals remains in the common security interests of Washington and Moscow, as well as the world.”

The U.S. State Department released its annual compliance assessment report on New START Jan. 31.

“Russia’s decisions to prohibit on-site inspections and to unilaterally cancel a meeting of the treaty’s Bilateral Consultative Commission meeting stand in clear violation of New START,” said Cara Abercrombie, deputy assistant to the president and coordinator for defense policy and arms control for the U.S. National Security Council, during a Feb. 1 briefing hosted by the Arms Control Association.

In August 2022, Moscow announced a prohibition of on-site inspections of its nuclear weapons-related facilities subject to the treaty citing obstacles to its ability to conduct those inspections. Russia and the United States planned to convene the Commission in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2022 to resolve the dispute issue, but Moscow called off the meeting and has since refused to reschedule as required by the treaty. The United States has made it clear that there are no obstacles that would impede Russia from conducting reciprocal inspections of U.S. strategic nuclear facilities.

New START will expire in exactly 1,098 days. Two years ago today, U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to extend the treaty by the full five years, in order to allow for more time to put into place a replacement arrangement.

“The United States and Russia have continued to emphasize their support of New START and have cited its great value in providing predictability, transparency, and stability,” says Shannon Bugos, a senior policy analyst at the Arms Control Association. “Washington and Moscow must maintain strong adherence to the agreement, so as to mitigate nuclear escalation and misunderstandings and to pave the way for further U.S.-Russian nuclear arms reductions.”

Additional Resources