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State Dept. report reveals major Russian nuclear treaty violations, as new treaty talks set to begin

The report reveals Moscow's inability to commit to the agreed upon moratorium on nuclear testing

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President Trump and President Putin converse at an APEC meeting in 2017
President Trump and President Putin converse at an APEC meeting in 2017
(Jorge Silva / Getty Images)
Updated: June 22, 2020 - 9:43am

As new arms talks with Russia are set to begin soon, officials of the Trump administration identified nine compliance failures from Moscow having to do with the current arms agreement. 

Marshall Billingslea, special U.S. arms control envoy, said it is uncertain whether the current treaty, which expires in February, will be renewed, but that Russia's track record in complying with the agreement is "abysmal."

"These aren't trivial arms control violations. These are invasions of countries, assassination attempts and blowing up a 30-year-plus treaty through its violations," Billingslea told the Washington Times.

A new State Department report, expected early this week, will reportedly identify the failures of the Russians to meet the terms of various agreements over the years. The report will identify Russians nuclear experiments that contradict Moscow's claim of ceasing nuclear testing. 

"Russia no longer feels bound by its PNI pledge to eliminate and cease production of all nuclear warheads for the ground forces," the report reads. The 2010 Peaceful Nuclear Initiative (PNI), requires its signers to adhere to a standard commitment of the peaceful application of nuclear technology.

The report finds that Russia is upholding the terms of just one arms agreement currently in place – the New START treaty, which was issued in 2010. That treaty is the sole agreement that does not restrict Russia's ability to develop nuclear weapons, including tactical nuclear warheads and short-range nuclear missiles.

Moscow's exceptionally poor compliance record will inspire differing terms of whatever agreements comes next, including effective verification measures, including on-site verifications, and short-notice site inspections.