Russia will no longer give the U.S. advance notice about its missile tests as envisioned under a nuclear pact the Kremlin has suspended, a senior Moscow diplomat said Wednesday, as its military rolled missile launchers across Siberia in a show of the country’s massive nuclear capability amid fighting in Ukraine.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies that Moscow has halted all information exchanges with Washington under the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the U.S. after suspending its participation in it last month.
Along with the data about the current state of the countries’ nuclear forces routinely released every six months in compliance with the New START treaty, the parties also have exchanged advance warnings about test launches and deployments of their nuclear weapons. Such notices have been an essential element of strategic stability for decades, allowing Russia and the United States to correctly interpret each other’s moves and make sure that neither country mistakes a test launch for a missile attack.
The termination of information exchanges under the pact marks yet another attempt by the Kremlin to discourage the West from ramping up its support for Ukraine by pointing to Russia’s massive nuclear arsenal. In recent days, President Vladimir Putin announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to the territory of Moscow’s ally Belarus.
Putin suspended the New START treaty last month, saying Russia can’t accept U.S. inspections of its nuclear sites under the agreement at a time when Washington and its NATO allies have openly declared Moscow’s defeat in Ukraine as their goal. Moscow emphasized that it wasn’t withdrawing from the pact altogether and would continue to respect the caps on nuclear weapons the treaty set.