The United States and Russia have begun exchanging information on their nuclear stockpiles under a new U.S.-Russian arms reduction treaty, a senior U.S. official said.
“With entry into force of the Treaty, we have begun implementing an extensive regime of mutual monitoring and information exchange,” Rose Gottemoeller, the Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said.
“Our Nuclear Risk Reduction Center transmitted the U.S. database to Russia over this past weekend. Such information includes data on the Parties’ missiles, launchers, heavy bombers, and warheads subject to the Treaty,” she added.
Under the new arms control deal, which replaces the expired START 1 agreement, the sides are to hold their first information exchange within 45 days after it came into force on February 5. Data exchanges are to be held every six months.
The right to begin conducting on-site inspections officially begins 60 days after the treaty’s entry into force, which is April 6, Gottemoeller said. However, she said, the United States has already conducted an exhibition of the B-1B heavy bomber at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona on March 18 and an exhibition of Russia’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-24 Yars, is ongoing.
“On-site inspections are a vital complement to the data exchanged. They provide the “boots on the ground” presence to confirm the validity of data declarations, thus helping to verify compliance with Treaty obligations, as well as adding to our confidence and knowledge regarding Russian strategic forces located at those facilities,” she said, adding “the same is true for Russia, since all Treaty measures are reciprocal.”
The new treaty on strategic arms reduction, signed in April 2010 by the presidents of Russia and the United States, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, trims nuclear arsenals of both nations to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200. The treaty was ratified by the U.S. Congress in December and by the Russian parliament in January.
earlier related report
U.S.-Russian talks on tactical nuclear arms cuts will take time – U.S. official
Washington, March 22 (RIA Novosti) Reaching an agreement with Russia on cutting the tactical nuclear weapons stockpiles is likely to be a complicated process, Ellen Tauscher, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, has said.
“Moving missile defense from a negative to a positive factor in our relationship could facilitate cooperation in other areas as well, including talks on further reductions in strategic, non-strategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons. But reaching any agreement will not be easy and it will take time,” Tauscher said.
The remarks came on the eve of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in Moscow, during which they are expected to discuss various issues of Russian-U.S. military and technical cooperation.
When ratifying the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Moscow in December 2010, the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution obligating the government to start bilateral talks on cutting the TNW stockpiles – landmines, artillery shells and short-range missiles. Washington says Moscow has a larger number of these systems.
President Barack Obama said in a message to the Senate in February his country expects to hold talks with Russia on TNW within a year after the New START arms reduction deal came into force on February 5.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in January that it is too early to discuss limiting TNW with the United States because Russia needs to see the way the U.S. fulfills its commitments under the New START.
Rose Gottemoeller, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said in mid-February that the Washington was ready to begin multilateral talks on tactical nuclear weapons reduction in Europe. U.S. officials will visit a number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, the Baltic States and Poland, in the near future to discuss the issue with the countries’ authorities, she said.