The US report, released earlier this month, reviewed several international treaties on arms control, non-proliferation and reduction in which the US has an interest. It stated that the US has been in compliance with its own obligations under those treaties and accused several other nations, including Russia, of deviating from theirs.
In a statement Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Washington’s report was biased and failed to acknowledge issues with America’s adherence to its international obligations.
“The US claims it has monopoly rights in assessing other nations’ compliance with treaties. Washington does this in a lecturing manner and ignores the established practice for settling points of dispute through corresponding multilateral mechanisms,” the statement said.
It also accused the US of bringing “unfounded accusations” and trying to conceal its own violations of international arms control treaties.
In recent years, Russia has received a “growing [amount] of evidence showing that the reasons for such actions by the US by no means consist in a reluctance to burden itself with a difficult and lengthy expert dialogue, but rather lie in something much more serious – in Washington’s fear of being exposed as a [state] bringing unfounded accusations against other countries, as well as the US’s own violations of international arms control treaties,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It went on to say that it was particularly “not the first time, when the US side repeats trite accusations against Russia concerning its alleged violations of the Treaty on Open Skies,” adding that the US “keeps quiet about their own violations … of [this treaty] as well as about violations committed by their NATO allies and other states affiliated with the US.”
First signed in March 1992, the Open Skies Treaty entered into force in 2002 and now has 34 states as signatories, including Russia, the US and most European countries. The agreement allows its participants to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over the entire territory of other countries and to gather information about those countries’ armed forces to enhance mutual understanding and trust.
In total, the Russian Foreign Ministry listed 11 complaints Moscow has with Washington relating to arms control and nonproliferation. Many of these issues are also mentioned in the American report, but it only states that the US is in full compliance with its obligations.
One such issue is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The US report states that Washington does not violate it while Russia does. Moscow disagrees, saying that America’s drone program, the target missiles for testing ABM technology and the placement of a naval vertical launch system as part of the AEGIS Ashore shield in Eastern Europe are all in violation of the INF, as Russia has repeatedly told the US.
Another one is the agreement between Russia and the US on disposal of plutonium from decommissioned nuclear warheads. Under this agreement both countries pledged to process the material in reactors, rendering them useless for nuclear weapons.
Russia did so, but the US decided that it would be too costly and is instead mixing its plutonium with special dilutant, a process that can potentially be reversed. Russia considers this unilateral decision a violation of the deal and last year suspended it after the US refused to return to the original terms of the agreement.
Russia also sees problems with America’s compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying that the US is stepping outside of it by its nuclear weapons-sharing arrangement with European nations. In particular, Moscow complains that the US trains non-nuclear nations to deploy American nuclear bombs stored in Europe.
The Foreign Ministry also challenged the State Department’s accusations against Russia on several issues, saying the American report omitted key facts related to the accusations, which challenge the narrative and expose America’s complicity in those disputes.
“We are calling on the US again to stop its unseemly practice of mounting ungrounded accusations against other nations, especially amid its own missteps, which only mislead global public opinion,” the statement said.