Russia Says It Quit the START Treaty after US Targeted Its Nuclear Sites

March 5th, 2023 - by Dave DeCamp/

Ukrainian drones strike a Russian airfield housing nuclear bombers

Russia Says It Suspended New START Treaty
After US Helped Ukraine Attack Nuclear Sites

Dave DeCamp/

(March 2, 2023) — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Thursday that one of the reasons Moscow suspended its participation in the New START treaty was because the US helped Ukraine attack a facility housing Russian nuclear weapons.

New START is the last nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia and limits the deployment of warheads and launchers, including heavy bombers assigned to nuclear missions. Ryabkov said Ukraine launched an attack on facilities declared under New START.

“The situation was further escalated by US attempts to probe the security of Russian strategic facilities declared under New START by helping the Kiev regime to carry out armed attacks on them,” he told the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

In December, Ukrainian drones targeted the Engels airfield, a base deep inside Russian territory that houses Russian strategic bombers that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, although it’s not clear if they were at the time. NATO military sources told Asia Times that Ukraine employed drones in the attack on Engels and another airfield that used US satellite GPS data to hit their targets.

Ryabkov said Ukraine wouldn’t be able to target Russian infrastructure without help from the US. “We know that those attacks would never be possible in absence of a very deep and sophisticated assistance by the US to the Ukrainian military,” he said.

The Russian diplomat said that even though Russia suspended its participation in New START, it would still keep its nuclear deployments within the limits of the treaty. “Under these circumstances, we were forced to announce the suspension of the New START Treaty. At the same time, as it has already been stated, we will continue to adhere to the quantitative restrictions enshrined in New START,” he said.

US has supplied satellite intel to help Ukraine strike Russian targets.

Ryabkov also warned that US support for Ukraine could lead to a direct clash between nuclear powers. He said the US and NATO’s “increasing involvement in the military confrontation is fraught with a direct military clash of nuclear powers with catastrophic consequences.”

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.