The US stops sharing nuclear weapons data with Russia


Under the terms of the New START treaty, both countries must share data on deployed nuclear warheads every two years.

The United States has told Russia it will stop sharing detailed data on its nuclear weapons stockpiles, the White House said, citing the move in response to Russia’s suspension of participation in the New START nuclear weapons treaty.

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin has not formally withdrawn from the treaty, his suspension of participation in the treaty, announced in February, jeopardizes the last pillar of US-Russian nuclear arms control.

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The US and Russia control nearly 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads — enough to destroy the planet several times over. The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that countries deploy.

“Russia has not fully complied with this and refused to share data that we … agreed in New START to share biannually,” John Kirby, the spokesman for the US National Security Council, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday.

“Since they have refused to comply … we have decided not to share that data either,” he said.

“We’d love to be able to do (this), but it requires them to want to.”

Kirby made it clear that the data would not be shared again until Russia was ready.

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“The US and Russia… are required to exchange extensive databases twice a year. We have offered to continue the mutual performance of this obligation. Unfortunately, Russia has informed the US that it will not participate in this data exchange due to the alleged suspension of this treaty,” Vedant Patel, deputy spokesman for the US State Department, said at a news conference.

Under the terms of the New START, signed in 2010 and expiring in 2026, Moscow and Washington are not allowed to deploy more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and 700 land and submarine missiles and bombers to launch them.

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Under the treaty’s “biannual data exchanges,” Moscow and Washington issue a statement of strategic transport vehicles, launchers and warheads deployed, including a breakdown of the number of warheads deployed for the three types of transport vehicles: air, sea and land.

The treaty, which then-Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in 2010, also provided for thorough on-site inspections to verify compliance by the US and Russia.

But inspections have been halted since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussions about resuming the inspections were supposed to have taken place in November 2022, but Russia abruptly called them off, citing US support for Ukraine.

In February, Russia formally suspended its participation in the treaty. Putin stated that his move was not an exit from the agreement. He said that Russia intends to continue to adhere to the agreed upper limits for nuclear weapons for the time being.

The White House, which previously accused Russia of multiple violations of the treaty, has said Russia’s refusal to comply is “legally void” and that the decision to withhold the nuclear data is another violation.


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