obama-and-putin-us-sanctionsThe cold war between  the United States and Russia worsened on Wednesday over US sanctions. Moscow announced the suspension of  nuclear and energy research agreement it had with the US in retaliation of Washington’s sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

Moscow also announced that it was terminating an agreement between its nuclear corporation, Rosatom, and the U.S. Department of Energy on feasibility studies into conversion of Russian research reactors to low enriched uranium.

Moscow Countermeasures

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On Monday, President Vladimir Putin suspended a treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium. This is an indication that he is willing to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in disputes with the United States over Ukraine and Syria.

The Russian government announced on its website that the regular renewal of sanctions against Russia, which include the suspension of Russian-American cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, demands the adoption of countermeasures against the U.S. side.

The agreement on co-operation in nuclear- and energy-related scientific research was signed between the US and Russia in 2013 in Vienna. It provided the legal framework necessary to expand work between U.S. and Russian nuclear research laboratories and institutes in nuclear technology and nonproliferation, among others.

The uranium agreement, signed in 2010, provided for feasibility studies into the conversion of six Russian research reactors from dangerous highly enriched uranium to more secure low enriched uranium.

Reasons for US Sanctions on Russia

The West imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, followed by a pro-Russian insurrection in the east of the country.

The breakdown of a ceasefire in Syria, where Russia backs government forces and the West supports rebel groups, has added to tensions.