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Russia Cancels Scheduled Inspections of its Nuclear Weapons

A Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system rides through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2017. NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES/GETTY
A Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system rides through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2017. NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES/GETTY

Russia on Monday announced a freeze on U.S. inspections of its nuclear arsenals under a pivotal arms control treaty, claiming that Western sanctions have hampered similar tours of U.S. facilities by Russian monitors.

The move reflects soaring tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s military action in Ukraine and marks the first time the Kremlin halted U.S. inspections under the New START nuclear arms control treaty.

In declaring the freeze on U.S. inspections, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the sanctions on Russian flights imposed by the U.S. and its allies, visa restrictions and other obstacles effectively have made it impossible for Russian military experts to visit U.S. nuclear weapons sites, giving the U.S. “unilateral advantages.”

The Biden administration had no immediate public response to the move. Ankit Panda, an expert on nuclear policy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, called Russia’s action “a cynical attempt to pressure the United States” over penalties the West has imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

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