Saturday, February 12, 2011

Russian officials say Moscow will reconsider its strategic nuclear arms reduction treaty with Washington in case the US government builds up its missile system.

“If the US increases the size and quality of missile defense individually or together with NATO partners and the situation changes; a question will [then] arise: Should Russia comply with the treaty or take measures in response?” a Press TV correspondent quoted Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying in a news conference on Monday. 

The senior Russian diplomat noted that the new Russian-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) makes the link between strategic defensive and offensive armaments legally binding.

The landmark nuclear arms pact between the two sides came into effect during a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and State Secretary Hillary Clinton in Munich, Germany, on February 5.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had signed the ratification of the new START agreement on January 28.

The new nuclear disarmament pact between Moscow and Washington was passed in Russia's lower house, the State Duma, on January 25. The treaty won the final approval from the upper house, Federation Council, the next day.

The new START treaty, signed by Russian President Medvedev and US President Barack Obama in the Czech capital of Prague in April last year, replaced START 1, which expired in December 2009.

In December, 2010, the US Senate attached non-binding amendments to Washington's historic nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Moscow.

The additions recommit the United Sates to deploy a missile system to Europe, modernize its nuclear arsenal and seek talks with Russia on curbing tactical nuclear weapons.

Lavrov criticized the amendments, saying the Senate decision was “an arbitrary interpretation of the principles of international law."

The new arms reduction pact would limit Washington and Moscow to a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads each. 

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