MOSCOW, Feb 1, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - The Kremlin accused Washington on Wednesday of "destroying" weapons control agreements, after the US said Russia was not complying with their last remaining arms pact, the New START treaty.
Tensions between the countries were already at breaking point before Russia sent troops to Ukraine last February, but have plummeted further since.
The State Department faulted Russia for suspending inspections and cancelling talks but did not accuse Moscow of expanding nuclear warheads beyond agreed limits.
"We believe that the continuation of this treaty is very important," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"On the other hand, we see that the United States has actually destroyed the legal framework in the field of arms control and security," he added.
Earlier Wednesday, Russia's ambassador to the United States said Moscow has been "irreproachably observing" the accord and would continue to do so.
"Responsibility for the escalation of the New START issues lie entirely with Washington," ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in a statement on the embassy's Facebook page.
The New START treaty first signed in 2010 restricted the number of strategic nuclear warheads, launchers and heavy bombers deployed by Russia and the United States.
President Joe Biden shortly after taking office extended New START until 2026 after the previous administration of Donald Trump had ripped up previous arms control agreements and had been hesitant to preserve New START in its current form.
Moscow announced in early August that it was suspending US inspections of its military sites under New START. It said it was responding to American obstruction of inspections by Russia, a charge denied by Washington.
Russia indefinitely postponed talks under New START that had been due to start on November 29 in Cairo, accusing the United States of "toxicity and animosity".