Russia stops sharing information about nuclear forces with the US.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that Moscow had halted all information exchanges with Washington after previously suspending its participation in the last remaining nuclear weapons pact with the United States.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended the New START treaty, saying Russia could not accept US inspections of its nuclear sites under the deal at a time when Washington and its NATO allies had openly declared that the Russia’s defeat in the Ukraine was their goal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended the New START treaty last month (Alexei Babushkin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Moscow stressed that it would not withdraw from the pact entirely and would continue to respect limits on nuclear weapons.

Russia’s foreign ministry initially said Moscow would continue to notify the United States of planned test launches of its ballistic missiles, but Ryabkov’s statement reflected a change of course.

“There will be no notifications at all,” Ryabkov said when asked if Moscow would also stop issuing notices about planned missile tests.

“All notifications, all types of notifications, all activities under the treaty will be suspended and will not take place regardless of what position the United States may take.”

As part of Russian drills that began on Wednesday, Yars mobile missile launchers would maneuver in three regions of Siberia, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

A Yars missile launcher comes out of a shelter at an undisclosed location in Russia.
Yars missile launchers were being deployed in Siberia, the Russian Defense Ministry said (Russian Defense Ministry press service via AP)

The moves would involve measures to hide the deployment from foreign intelligence assets, the ministry added.

The Defense Ministry did not mention plans for any practice launches.

The Yars is a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of more than 6,800 miles (about 11,000 km). It forms the backbone of Russia’s strategic missile forces.

The Defense Ministry released a video showing trucks carrying the missiles leaving a base to go on patrol. Some 300 vehicles and 3,000 soldiers are participating in the maneuvers in eastern Siberia, according to the ministry.

The exercise came days after Putin announced a plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Russia’s neighbor and ally Belarus.

Tactical nuclear weapons are designed for use on the battlefield and have a relatively short range and much lower yield compared to long-range strategic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads that are capable of destroying entire cities.

Putin’s decision to put tactical weapons in Belarus followed his repeated warnings that Moscow was ready to use “all available means,” a reference to its nuclear arsenal, to defend against attacks on Russian soil.

Russian officials have issued a barrage of aggressive statements since their troops entered Ukraine, warning that continued Western support for Ukraine posed the threat of nuclear conflict.

In remarks published Tuesday, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s security council, which Putin chairs, warned the United States and its allies not to hold out hope that Russia would be defeated in Ukraine.

Patrushev alleged that some US politicians believed the US could launch a pre-emptive missile strike against Russia that Moscow would not be able to respond to, an alleged belief he described as “myopic stupidity, which is very dangerous.”

“Russia is patient and is not trying to scare anyone with its military superiority, but it has unique modern weapons capable of destroying any adversary, including the United States, in the event of a threat to its existence,” Patrushev said.


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