BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on Russia’s suspension of New START Treaty (NST) inspections:
“Russia’s suspension of NST inspections should come as no surprise given its long-standing pattern of violating both the spirit and letter of the law of arms control agreements. A year ago, I told the Biden Administration it was a bad idea to extend NST for five years. This week, Russia proved why I was right.
“The Biden Administration pledged to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and to restore America’s leadership in arms control. However, America’s enemies – Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran – are not reciprocating. Russia has used the NST extension to further advance its investment in novel strategic nuclear weapons and to continue to grow its already massive tactical and theater range nuclear weapons arsenal. To make matters worse, Russia’s growing nuclear arsenal is being used in an attempt to coerce the United States and its European allies from aiding Ukraine in its resistance to Putin’s brutal war of aggression.
“Rather than soliciting unwilling regimes to join us in arms control, the administration should focus on strengthening our defense and deterrence through the fielding of missile defenses and the full modernization of our nuclear weapons enterprise. Anything less signals weakness, not resolve.”
In February 2021, the Biden Administration announced the extension of NST under the assertion that its inspection protocols would provide greater insight into Russia’s nuclear posture. However, there has not been a single on-site inspection conducted under the treaty since the administration took office, and it is now unclear when, if ever, these inspections will resume.