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Russia has notified the United States that it will temporarily suspend inspections under the START nuclear weapons treaty, the country’s foreign ministry said Monday.

“The Russian Federation is now forced to resort to this measure because of Washington’s persistent desire to obtain a restart of inspection activities on short notice under conditions that do not take into account existing realities, creating unilateral advantages for the United States of America and effectively deprive the Russian Federation of the right to conduct inspections on US territory,” read a statement from the ministry.

The New START treaty allows for 18 on-site inspections each year, allowing Russia and the United States to closely monitor each other’s nuclear weapons.

The treaty, which was extended in early 2021 for five years, limits the two countries to deploying 1,550 nuclear warheads on 700 delivery systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and bombers.

According to the ministry’s statement, Russia is fully committed to complying with all provisions of the START treaty and the suspension of inspection measures is “temporary”.

The objective is to “ensure that all mechanisms of the START treaty operate in strict compliance with the principles of parity and equality of the parties, as was implicit when it was agreed and put into effect”, a- he declared. “Now these principles are not respected.”

The inspections will resume “once the current issues related to the resumption of Treaty inspection activities are resolved”, the ministry said.

CNN has contacted the US State Department for comment.

The treaty is the only one left to regulate the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation extending the treaty for five years on January 28, 2021, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Washington had extended the treaty on February 3 this year.

In a statement, Blinken said the extension of the New START treaty allows verifiable limits on Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers until February 5, 2026, and that the “regime of verification of the treaty allows us to monitor Russia’s compliance with the treaty and gives us greater insight into Russia’s nuclear posture, including through data exchanges and on-site inspections that allow US inspectors to have an eye on Russian nuclear forces and facilities.”

Christi C. Elwood