Under the New START agreement, both the US and Russia are allowed to conduct on-site inspections of the other’s nuclear arsenal. The US wants to resume inspections, which were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Russia is refusing.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

The crisis over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spilled into the realm of arms control on Monday when Moscow said it won’t support the resumption of inspections of its nuclear arsenal under the New START nuclear arms treaty because of travel restrictions imposed by the U.S.

The accord, which cuts long-range nuclear arms, is the last major agreement regulating the nuclear competition between Washington and Moscow. Both sides have been observing its limits.

Weapons inspections were paused in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S. wanted to have a team of inspectors resume on-site monitoring, U.S. officials said.

But Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday that American inspections couldn’t resume at this time because U.S.-driven international restrictions precluded Russian aircraft from flying Russian inspectors to American territory.

Those travel restrictions, as well as tightened visa regulations, the Foreign Ministry said, “create unilateral advantages for the United States and effectively deprive the Russian Federation of the right to carry out inspections on American soil.”

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