MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Defense Ministry is considering a ban on US inspections of Russian nuclear weapons under the New START deal over the standoff in Ukraine, a ministry source told RIA Novosti on Saturday.
The ban would be a reaction to the US decision to suspend military cooperation with Russia over Ukraine, said the source, who requested anonymity.
Russia has vehemently opposed Ukraine’s pro-Western government that was installed last month following street clashes between police and the opposition led by far-right nationalist groups.
Russia was also accused of backing separatists in the Ukrainian Republic of Crimea – which is planning to secede – and deploying thousands of troops there, though official Moscow has denied sending troops to the pro-Russian region.
The New START, signed in 2010 by US President Barack Obama and his Russian then-counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, envisages curbing nuclear arsenals of both countries by half by 2021.
The treaty’s implementation is overseen, in addition to satellite and remote monitoring, by 18 on-site inspections a year.
The United States has not conducted any inspections under the New START since the start of this year, according to the US Department of State’s website.