Despite the conflict in Ukraine, a top Russian diplomat announced on Wednesday that Moscow will no longer alert Washington about any missile tests.
The decision came as the Russian military stationed mobile launchers in Siberia as a display of its formidable nuclear arsenal.
In comments reported by Russian news media, Sergei Ryabkov, the deputy foreign minister of Russia, said that after suspending its participation in the last-standing nuclear armaments agreement with the United States, Moscow has now stopped all intelligence contacts with that country.
Asserting that Moscow cannot allow US inspections of its nuclear installations under the terms of the pact at a time when Washington and its NATO allies have publicly stated their goal of defeating Russia in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled the New START treaty last month.
Moscow highlighted that it was continuing to adhere to the treaty’s limits on nuclear weapons and was not wholly leaving it.
The Russian Foreign Ministry previously stated that Moscow would continue informing Washington about upcoming ballistic missile test launches, but Ryabkov’s statement indicated a change of heart.
When asked if Moscow will also stop giving notices about scheduled missile tests, Ryabkov responded, “There will be no notifications.” “All notifications, all sorts of messages, and all treaty-related operations. Regardless of the United States’ chosen stance, it will be halted and not conducted.
Yars mobile missile launchers will roam throughout three districts of Siberia as part of the Russian drills, which got underway on Wednesday. According to the ministry, the movements will include steps to hide the deployment from outside satellites and other intelligence assets.
The Defense Ministry did not mention any intentions for practice launches or the duration of the maneuvers.
The Yars is an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead and an approximate 11,000-kilometer range (over 6,800 miles). It serves as the strategic missile force’s skeleton.
In a video the Defense Ministry posted, huge trucks loaded with missiles can be seen leaving a facility to go on patrol.
According to the government, the exercises occur in eastern Siberia and involve roughly 300 vehicles and 3,000 soldiers.
The giant drill was conducted days after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a plan to send tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, a neighbor and ally of Russia.