Russia accuses the US of “gross” violations of arms-control and non-proliferation agreements

Russia has accused the United States of “gross” violations of a number of arms-control and non-proliferation agreements in an apparent tit-a-tat for U.S. charges of Russia breaching the 1991 START-1 nuclear-arms treaty.

In a 13-page document published on Saturday on its website, the Russian Foreign Ministry detailed U.S. infringements of START-1, international conventions banning chemical and biological weapons, and missile proliferation pacts.

Moscow said Washington had breached its duties under START-1 when it converted some nuclear missile launchers into interceptor missile launchers; retrofitted B1 heavy nuclear-capable bombers to carry conventional weapons; and refused to provide telemetric data on Trident-2 submarine missile launches by claiming the missiles belonged to Britain.

In glaring violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime, said the Russian report, the U.S. has been supplying missile technologies to Israel, Taiwan and some Arab countries. Among other things, the U.S. helped Israel build the Shavit three-stage solid fuel missile and has been developing jointly with Israel the Arrow-2 missile interceptor.

The U.S. also breached the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 km, the U.S. continued to build medium-range ballistic missile targets for missile-defence tests.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. violated the Biological Weapons Convention by developing new germ agents and refusing to provide information on a network of its military bio-centres in Indonesia, Thailand, Peru, Egypt and other countries.

The U.S. authorities failed to prevent 1,500 leaks of radioactive materials and nuclear weapons-related information, including one case in 2006 when confidential data from Los Alamos National Laboratory landed in the hands of a drug dealing criminal group.

The Russian document was published 10 days after the U.S. State Department in a report on arms-control compliance said Russia had continued to violate provisions of the 1991 START-1 treaty up until the agreement expired in December.

U.S. Republicans used the report to rake up opposition to the new START nuclear arms reduction treaty the two countries signed in April and delay its ratification until after a crucial Senate elections in November.

While chief U.S. arms negotiator Rose Gottemoeller conceded that the U.S. complaints against Russia were “minor issues” which never rose to the status of alleged violations, Moscow said the facts in its report showed that Washington “has been committing numerous and often very gross breaches of ongoing agreements in the sphere of disarmament and non-proliferation”.

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