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Three years without one single on-site US nuclear weapons inspection at base for Northern Fleet ballistic missile submarines

The State Department says Russia has denied the United States its right to conduct inspections under the New START Treaty.

Barents Observer, By Thomas Nilsen 10 Feb 23

Concerns are growing as the last remaining key arms control agreement between the two, by far, largest nuclear weapons states is weakened due to a lack of on-site verifications.

“Russia has failed to comply with its obligation to facilitate U.S. inspection activities,” the State Department’s latest Report to Congress on the implementation of the New START Treaty reads.

Not since before the COVID-19 pandemic have U.S. inspectors been in Gadzhiyevo, the Russian Northern Fleet’s base for ballistic missile submarines on the Kola Peninsula.    

Here, both the Delta-IV and the newer Borei-class submarines load missiles armed with nuclear weapons before sailing out on deterrence patrols in Arctic waters.

The storage bunkers for missiles in both Gadzhiyevo and Okolnaya Bay have been substantially upgraded and expanded in recent years, the Barents Observer previously reported based on studies of satellite images.

The Russia-US treaty on reduction of strategic offensive arms was signed by the two presidents Dmitri Medvedev and Barack Obama in 2010 and limits the number of deployed warheads to 1,550 in each country. The limit on deployed missiles and bombers is set to 700 on each side

………………………………………………………………. Director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen, writes in an analysis together with Matt Korda that the lack of inspections does not mean Russia has deployed more nuclear weapons than is limited by the Treaty. The two, however, are worried about the future of the arms treaty itself.

“It is clear that the longer that these compliance issues persist, the more they will ultimately hinder US-Russia negotiations over a follow-on treaty, which is necessary in order to continue the bilateral strategic arms control regime beyond New START’s expiry in February 2026,” Kristensen and Korda noted…………………… more

February 11, 2023 - Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war

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