US retaliates following Russia's withdrawal from New START Treaty

The US announced retaliatory actions Thursday following Russia's exit from the last remaining arms pact between the nuclear powers earlier this year. 

The actions include Tuesday's decision not to provide a biannual date update to Russia that includes comprehensive databases on New START Treaty-accountable facilities and nuclear forces, the State Department said in a statement. The decision came after Russia confirmed it "would not fulfill its obligation to provide its biannual data update on March 30, 2023."

The databases are supposed to be exchanged twice per year, once in March and again in September.

Starting Thursday, the US is also beginning to withhold nuclear-related notifications explicitly called for under the treaty, including updates on the statuses of items covered by the pact, including missiles and launchers.

Washington will continue to provide Moscow with notifications of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launches, a requirement under the 1988 Ballistic Missile Launch Notifications Agreement, and will notify Russia of exercises covered by a separate treaty struck the following year, the State Department said.

The US will also no longer facilitate Russian inspections of US nuclear activities covered by New START, and is revoking visas from Russians tasked with carrying out inspections. Exchanges of telemetry data from ICBM and SLBM launches will also no longer be carried out.

President Vladimir Putin formally suspended Moscow's participation in the agreement in late February in retaliation for Washington's continued support for Ukraine.

The New START agreement, signed in 2010, limits the number of Russian and US deployed strategic nuclear warheads to a maximum of 1,550. The agreement also limited the number of launchers and nuclear-capable heavy bombers to 800, and created a mutual inspection and notification regime.

The two countries extended the agreement to 2026 shortly after US President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.