Russia threatens to bar START treaty inspectors

March 8, 2014 at 2:27 PM

MOSCOW, March 8 (UPI) -- Russia is considering responding to U.S. sanctions by suspending the reception of START Treaty inspectors, the Defense Ministry said Saturday.

Voice of Russia quoted an unnamed official in the ministry.

"We are prepared to make the move in response to the Pentagon's statements that it is suspending cooperation between the Russian and US Defence Ministries," the official said. "Since such inspections are a confidence-building measure, in the conditions of the effectively declared sanctions on the US part there can be no normal regular bilateral contacts on honoring the agreements."

Both the United States and European Union have said Russian organizations and individuals could face economic sanctions for its actions in Crimea, where the regional parliament voted Thursday to hold a vote on seceding from Ukraine.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed in 1991 and expired in 2009. U.S. President Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, who was then president of Russia, signed Start 2 in 2010.

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