The State Department under Secretary Antony Blinken on Thursday announced that it was withholding key nuclear weapons information from Russia in retaliation over Moscow's February decision to suspend its involvement in the New START Treaty. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo
June 2 (UPI) -- The Biden administration said it is taking countermeasures against Russia's unilateral suspension of the New START Treaty, stating it will no longer share key U.S. nuclear information with Moscow and is suspending the visas of treaty inspectors.
The State Department announced the punitive measures Thursday, several months after President Vladimir Putin in February suspended Russia's participation in the pact that sets limits on the number of intercontinental-range nuclear weapons the countries may have.
"U.S. countermeasures are fully consistent with international law. They are proportionate, reversible and meet all other legal requirements," the State Department said in a statement.
According to the State Department's release, the United States will withhold from Russia data on facilities and nuclear forces, including the locations of deployed warheads and delivery vehicles, as well as notifications on the status of missiles and launchers.
It will also stop providing Moscow with telemetric information on launches of U.S. intercontinental-ballistic missiles and submarine-launched-ballistic missiles, but it will continue to provide Russia with notifications of the launches in accordance with other agreements.
On Thursday, the United States also revoked the visas of Russian inspectors and clearance for Russian inspection airplanes as it ceases New Start Treaty inspections on U.S. soil.
The New START Treaty is the last arms control treaty between the two countries, and Putin suspended Russia's involvement in it days before the grim one-year anniversary of his war in Ukraine while accusing the United States and its Westerns allies of exasperating the conflict.
Under the treaty, the two nations were to trade information on their nuclear stockpiles in March, but neither did so. Last month, the Biden administration made public the size of its nuclear arsenal in an effort to coerce Russia to live up to its treaty obligations.
The President Barack Obama-era treaty limits the countries to 1,550 nuclear warheads, 800 delivery systems and 700 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers.
"The United States remains ready to work constructively with Russia on resuming implementation of the New START Treaty," the State Department said.