The U.S. Department of State assessed in an annual report that Russia has failed to create “a strategic imbalance” between the world’s two largest nuclear weapons possessors.
In a new report on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the Department of State assesses that, as of July 1, 2023, the Russian Federation has not engaged in significant activity above the New START Treaty central limits.
But noted that “U.S. confidence in the Russian Federation’s adherence to the treaty’s central limits will diminish over time if the Russian Federation persists in not implementing the treaty’s verification provisions.”
On February 28, 2023, the Russian Federation purported to suspend the New START Treaty. The United States assessed the Russian Federation’s purported suspension to be without a valid legal basis. The “suspension” was predicated on a theory of U.S. material breach of the treaty, but no such U.S. material breach has occurred. The treaty is therefore not suspended, and remains binding on both parties. The Russian Federation’s failure since the date of its “suspension” to provide treaty notifications, including its March 2023 biannual data update, is noncompliant with paragraph 2 of Article VII of the Treaty. The Russian Federation has also remained in noncompliance with its obligation to facilitate U.S. inspection activities on its territory and has also failed to comply with its obligation to convene a session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) in 2023 within the timeline set out by the treaty.
The Russian Federation has publicly stated that it no longer considers itself legally bound by the New START Treaty’s central limits on strategic offensive arms but that it will adhere to them as a political matter.
The United States continues to assess that there is not a strategic imbalance between the United States and the Russian Federation that endangers the national security interests of the United States, and to assess that the Russian Federation’s violations of the treaty do not currently threaten the national security interests of the United States.
“Were the Administration to have indications or assess that the Russian Federation intended to or was acting to break out of the central limits of treaty, the Administration would immediately inform the Committees on Foreign Relations and Armed Services of the Senate. Were the Administration to determine that the Russian Federation’s violations of the New START Treaty threaten the national security interests of the United States, the Administration would consult with the Senate regarding the implications,” said in report.
The U.S. report determined that the United States continues to believe that mutual full compliance with the New START Treaty makes the United States, its allies and partners, the Russian Federation, and the entire world safer. The United States is prepared to work constructively with the Russian Federation on a pathway back to full implementation of the New START Treaty and on a post-2026 nuclear arms control framework.