U.S. suspends sharing nuke information with Russia
New START, which was reupped at the beginning of the Biden administration, caps the number of deployed nuclear warheads at 1,550 and places other limits on the number of nuclear-capable bombers and launchers.
But after Russia recently declared it would no longer abide by the treaty, and stopped sharing information with the U.S. on its stockpiles, the Biden administration had continued following the pact, until now.
“We have not received any daily notifications from them since that time,” Plumb said.
While Moscow has suspended all participation in the treaty, the Biden administration has decided to hold back only the notification that was due at the end this month, a large data dump that occurs twice a year. The U.S. continues to share daily positioning information with Russia.
National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in an email that Russia’s suspension of the treaty is “legally invalid,” and adds to Moscow’s “existing violations of the New START Treaty. As a result, as a lawful countermeasure intended to encourage Russia to return to compliance with the treaty, the United States will likewise not provide its biannual data update to Russia.”
Moscow does continue to supply information on its nuclear stockpile to the U.S. under other arms control treaties, however.
House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said the Biden administration “needs to grow a spine when dealing with Putin.”
“We should not be giving our adversary any updates they’re not providing to us. We should declare Russia in material breach of New START immediately,” he said in a statement. Rogers also called on the White House to declare Russia in breach of the treaty after the Kremlin announced it was suspending its participation.
It’s not clear if the U.S. refusal to share information will be repeated at the next scheduled exchange in six months, since the issue remains under review with the administration, Watson said.
In Monday’s meeting between diplomats from both countries, “Russia responded that they will not be providing that information,” he continued. “And so as a diplomatic countermeasure, the United States will not be providing that information back.
“We are going to continue to examine what other diplomatic countermeasures are appropriate,” he added, “and what we’re trying to do is balance both responding to Russia’s irresponsible behavior but continuing to demonstrate what we believe [what] a responsible nuclear power’s action should be.”