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MOSCOW, March 08 /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Defence Ministry will stop receiving foreign inspectors under the New START Treaty and the Vienna Document of 2011, a highly-placed source in the ministry told ITAR-TASS on Saturday, March 8.
“We are ready to take this step in reply to the Pentagon’s statement on the suspension of cooperation between the defence ministries of Russia and the United States,” he said.
“Since such inspections are a confidence-building measure, there can be no normal regular bilateral contacts on compliance with the treaty now that the U.S. has basically announced ‘sanctions’,” the source said. “We take the unjustified U.S. and NATO threats against Russia over its policy with regard to Ukraine as an unfriendly gesture that allows us to declare force majeure,” he added.
New START that entered into force on February 5, 2011 allows each country to have 1,500 deployed warheads and 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles, sea-based ICBMs and bombers on combat duty.
The new START Treaty was signed by President Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague on April 8, 2011. The previous Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expired on December 5, 2009.
The main instrument for mutual control over compliance with the treaty is inspections, during which inspectors have to confirm the declared number of strategic offensive weapons.
The Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe was adopted by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in November 2011. It calls for inspections of specific areas and units in order to oversee military activities and make annual assessments of information provided by each member state. The U.S. is a member of the OSCE since 1973, Russia since 1992.