The US announced Thursday that it has halted the exchange of nuclear arms data with Russia, intensifying the ongoing nuclear escalation between the two nations. This is the latest retrograde step on nuclear arms control after Russia suspended its participation in the New START treaty in February. 

Posted in a fact sheet on the US State Department website, Russia will stop receiving remotely gathered data about the flights of US intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Moscow will continue to be informed of US test launches. Other measures imposed by the US include the cancelling of  current visas and new applications for Russia nuclear weapons inspectors coming to monitor US nuclear sites. 

The announcement comes after Russia stopped sharing its nuclear weapons information with the US in March, with Washington maintaining that it wanted to continue the arrangement. 

This Friday, US national security advisor Jake Sullivan is to address the Arms Control Association, where he is expected to announce that the US is willing to adhere to nuclear stockpile limits outlined in New START until 2026 – if Russia is willing to do so. Sullivan is also expected to speak about the Biden Administration’s willingness to replace New START with a new agreement. 

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: 

“The decision by the US to halt the exchange of nuclear arms data with Russia is a dangerous step that only contributes to the escalating tensions between these two nuclear-armed nations. It is disheartening to witness this regressive approach, undermining the progress made through arms control agreements. We must prioritise dialogue and cooperation, and it is crucial that the New START Treaty is maintained and replaced with a new agreement when it runs out in 2026.”

Image Credit: US Navy / Ronald Gutridge