by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) March 08, 2014
Russia is considering halting foreign inspections of its strategic weapons arsenal, including nuclear-capable missiles, in response to "threats" from the West over the Ukraine crisis, the defence ministry said Saturday.
"The unfounded threats towards Russia from the United States and NATO over its policy on Ukraine are seen by us as an unfriendly gesture that allows the declaration of force majeure circumstances," a high-ranking defence ministry official, who was not named, said in a statement to all Russian news agencies.
The inspections that could be halted are carried out in line with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the United States and the Vienna Document between Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member states.
Cutting off such inspections would likely be seen by the West as a major violation of such agreements, which are regarded as a cornerstone for the maintenance of global peace in the post-Cold War world.
"We are ready to take this step in response to the announcement by the Pentagon about stopping cooperation between the defence institutions of Russia and the United States," the Russian defence ministry official added.
"Inasmuch as these inspections are a matter of trust, then in a situation where the United States has de facto declared the imposition of sanctions then there cannot be normal, bilateral contacts on observing agreements."
The New START treaty between Russia and the United States, signed between US President Barack Obama and then Kremlin chief Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, entered into force in February 2011.
The agreement provides for 18 on-site inspections per year as part of a verification regime for a treaty that envisages drastic cuts in missiles and nuclear warheads on both sides.
The United States has already imposed visa bans and set the stage for wider sanctions against Russia over the seizure of the Ukrainian region of Crimea by pro-Russia forces.
Obama also signed an executive order paving the way for economic sanctions against individuals or entities in Russia.
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|