After recent criticism from the United States, Russia has confirmed its doubts about the continuation of the last major disarmament treaty – but at the same time emphasized its importance. “There is little evidence of this,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to the Interfax agency, when asked whether further talks about extending the “New Start” contract beyond 2026 were on the horizon.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov recently described the expiry of the agreement on strategic nuclear disarmament as a “very possible scenario”. However, Peskow also emphasized: “We consider the continuation of this contract to be very important.”

The United States accuses Russia of failing to meet its nuclear arms control obligations. According to Washington, Moscow refuses to allow inspections on its own territory. Russia, on the other hand, justifies its refusal to carry out the contractually stipulated controls by saying that Russian inspectors are currently unable to travel to the USA due to Western sanctions.

The “New Start” treaty limits the nuclear arsenals of both countries to 800 delivery systems and 1,550 operational nuclear warheads. In February 2021 – a year before Russia invaded Ukraine – US President Joe Biden and Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin agreed on an extension until 2026.