U.S. nuclear arms inspectors recently discovered that Russia is violating the New START arms treaty by improperly eliminating SS-25 mobile missiles, American defense officials said.
The violations were discovered during an on-site inspection carried out in Russia in April, said officials familiar with details of the inspection.
During the recent visit to a Russian missile base, U.S. technicians found critical components of SS-25s—road-mobile, intercontinental ballistic missiles—had been unbolted instead of cut to permanently disable the components.
Additionally, American inspectors were unable to verify missiles slated for elimination had been destroyed. Instead, only missile launch canisters were inspected.
As a result, inspectors were unable to determine if the missiles were properly eliminated as required by the 2010 arms treaty, the officials said.
Additionally, the inspectors found that Russian missile forces had improperly displayed missile components slated for destruction by failing to leave them in the open for monitoring by so-called national technical means of verification, a euphemism for spy satellites and other sensors used in monitoring arms accords.
On-site inspectors also reported they were unable to verify that Russia had completed all New START treaty cuts to launchers declared eliminated by Russia between 2011 and 2015.