White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. would no longer share detailed data on strategic nuclear forces after Russia refused to do the same.
“We would prefer to be able to do that, but it requires them to be willing as well,” Kirby said at a press briefing.
In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he would suspend New START, the last remaining nuclear treaty between the U.S. and Russia, accusing Washington of seeking the defeat of his country in Ukraine.
The treaty, which will need to be renewed or extended before expiration in 2026, limits the number of nuclear weapons allowed for each nation and authorizes inspections of facilities and stockpiles to promote safety and stability.
New START also facilitated the data sharing of numbers, locations, and technical characteristics of weapons systems and facilities, according to the Department of State, with regular updates and notifications.
The Kremlin’s decision to suspend the treaty is the latest in a series of nuclear saber rattling from Putin, who last week announced the transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to ally Belarus.
That announcement comes as a Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine has floundered, with Moscow unable to take the town of Bakhmut and other key strategic points.
And Ukraine is expected to launch a new counteroffensive this spring as battle tanks and fighter jets from European allies are expected to roll into Kyiv soon.
Anna Ohanyan, a nonresident senior scholar in the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Hill that “new armor in Ukraine is creating uncertainties and fear in Moscow.”
“So the nuclear option,” she said, “is really done as a way to enhance Putin’s power and compensate for [his] losses and inability to win on the battleground.”
Read more coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine at TheHill.com.