U.S. Congress Calls to Verify Russia’s Compliance with Nuclear Treaty

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The Republicans insist on verifying Russia’s compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The heads of three Republican congressional committees have asked the U.S. presidential administration to check whether Russia is complying with the terms of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the Financial Times reports. It is noted that the chairs of the House armed services, foreign affairs and intelligence committees were seeking a decision by January 31, according to a letter obtained by the Financial Times sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. “Russia is attempting to use New Start to intimidate the U.S. and other nations from providing lethal assistance to Ukraine. We can’t allow the U.S. and NATO be extorted ... and step one is calling out these violations,” Senator Mike Rogers said. The congressional concern was triggered by Russia’s decision last year to suspend START inspections and its subsequent refusal to participate in consultations required under the treaty to support its implementation. It also comes amid fears that Russia could use tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, and amid concern about China’s rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal. “This would occur during a uniquely dangerous time when both Russia and China are expanding and modernizing their arsenals, Iran continues to expand its nuclear program, and North Korea rattles its nuclear saber,” the senators wrote in the letter. The U.S. and Russia agreed in 2021 a five-year extension to the treaty which limits both countries to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons. Russia’s actions have raised fears that Washington and Moscow could face difficulties in reaching a follow-on deal in 2026, which would leave the world without nuclear arms control deals. In October 2022, the United States and Russia exchanged strategic weapons data.