August 7, 2010 / 8:51 AM / 8 years ago

Russia accuses U.S. of loose weapons control

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia accused the United States on Saturday of breaching its obligations over the non proliferation of weapons, a sign of strained relations between the two powers.

The charge came after a new arms control treaty between the United States and Russia suffered a setback this week when the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed a ratification vote until mid-September.

Russia said it had successfully test fired two ballistic missiles from the Barents Sea on Friday, Interfax news agency reported, in another sign of muscle-flexing from Moscow.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on its web site the United States had been in breach of several arms-related treaties including the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) and a treaty on conventional weapons.

“During the START I period, the United States failed to resolve Russia’s concerns over how this treaty was being fulfilled,” the ministry said, citing a long list of what it called irregularities, including a U.S. failure to provide information on ballistic missiles trials.

In Washington, the State Department dismissed the accusation. “We have met our obligations under START,” a spokeswoman said.

Russia also accused the United States of preventing international supervision of its compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

The ministry also said secret information from the U.S. Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory had ended up at the hands of a drug dealing gang in 2006.

“The peculiarity of the incident was that, unlike in several other such cases — when nuclear secrets were obtained by foreign intelligence services — now they were found by police with a criminal group connected to the drug trade,” it said.

The ministry also said checks conducted by a U.S. government body in July 2010 revealed that several institutions dealing with viruses had failed to provide enough security measures to prevent an intruder from entering their facilities.

The Foreign Ministry also alleged that some 1,500 sources of ionizing radiation were lost in the U.S. between 1996 and 2001.

“In 2004, it was revealed that Pacific Gas and Electric Company lost three segments of wasted fuel rods, used at Hamboldt Bay nuclear power station,” it said in the 11-page report.

The documents also castigates U.S. for research into biological weapons and smallpox.

Last month saw the only major U.S.-Russian spy trade since the end of the Cold War, despite a seemingly warming trend in relations between President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Obama has cast the new treaty, which commits the former Cold War foes to reducing deployed nuclear weapons by about 30 percent, as a first step toward his goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Philippa Fletcher

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