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NATO worried by nuclear danger, but what is the pact signed by Russia and the USA
NATO called on Russia to respect the only treaty it has with the US aimed at keeping the proliferation of nuclear weapons under control. It also asked Moscow to allow the resumption of on-the-ground inspections of military sites.
But what is this treaty and why is it so vital?
The so-called New START Treaty was signed by Russia and the US in 2010. It limits the number of long-range nuclear warheads they can deploy to 1,550 and restricts the use of missiles capable of carrying atomic weapons.
It allows short-notice inspections of each other's nuclear bases and support facilities.
"We note with concern that Russia has failed to fulfill its legally binding obligations under the New Start Treaty," NATO ambassadors said today.
The US-led military alliance supports the treaty and believes it helps limit the proliferation of nuclear forces.
The envoys said Russia's refusal to hold consultations or allow US inspections since last August "prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and undermines the ability of the United States to effectively verify adequate Russian compliance with the central borders of the treaty".
We call on Russia to meet its treaty obligations by facilitating New Beginnings inspections on Russian territory and returning to participation in the treaty's implementing body," NATO said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stepped up his nuclear rhetoric since ordering troops into Ukraine almost a year ago, raising concern among Western allies and the public about whether he might actually use such weapons.
The US-Russia committee formed under the treaty last met in October 2021, but Russia unilaterally suspended its cooperation with the pact's inspection provisions in August 2022 to protest US support for Ukraine.
Inspections of US and Russian military sites under the New START Treaty were suspended by both sides due to the spread of the coronavirus in March 2020.
Source: Sky News