Medvedev Inks New START Ratification Text

(Jan. 28) -Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, shown today, said he had signed off a document prepared by his country's parliament for ratifiying a new strategic nuclear arms control treaty with the United States (Dmitry Astakhov/Getty Images).
(Jan. 28) -Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, shown today, said he had signed off a document prepared by his country's parliament for ratifiying a new strategic nuclear arms control treaty with the United States (Dmitry Astakhov/Getty Images).

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today announced he had inked his country's ratification document for a new nuclear arms control treaty with the United States, Russia Today reported (see GSN, Jan. 27).

“Today I signed the ratification bill on the New START treaty. This is a very important event for our entire country, considering the understandings that Russia has with the U.S.," Medvedev said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are expected to exchange ratification instruments for the treaty early next month, formally bringing the agreement into force.

Medvedev and President Obama signed New START last April. The pact would require Russia and the United States to cap their deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550, down from a limit of 2,200 required by 2012 under an earlier treaty. It also would set a ceiling of 700 deployed warhead delivery systems, with another 100 allowed in reserve.

Russia's parliament this week approved a ratification text addressing various interpretations of the pact included in the U.S. Senate ratification document approved last month.

"The Americans have come their way and we have also accomplished the process on our side and now the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council have adopted all the necessary papers," Medvedev said. “We made some clarifications which are quite similar and proportionate to what the U.S. Senate did, very symmetrical. And they reflect the concerns that our deputies have."

“Now we have very clear papers that can be highly useful for (the) implementation of this treaty for a period of at least 10 years,” Andrei Kilmov, deputy leader of the Duma's international affairs committee, said in reference to the ratification documents prepared by each legislature.

Russian lawmakers have emphasized that their nation reserves the option of ending participation in the pact if it deems future U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe to pose an unacceptable strategic risk (Russia Today, Jan. 28).

Meanwhile, Moscow and Washington are set today to convene a periodic meeting for addressing a wide range of strategic issues, ITAR-Tass reported.

"The agenda is broad," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in the U.S. capital. "It comprises everything -- from missile defense and conventional armaments up to the situation at the [international Conference on Disarmament] and prospects for the prolongation of the mandate of Committee 1540 of the U.N. Security Council (on nonproliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons). There are other issues concerning enhanced fight against nuclear terrorism, etc." (see GSN, Jan. 27).

Before discussing potential nuclear reductions beyond the mandates of New START, "we have to get convinced that [New] START is operating and is being implemented, we have to launch the work of the Bilateral Consultative Commission in the framework of the treaty," Ryabkov said.

Russia would also take into consideration the strategic arsenals of other nuclear-armed nations inside and outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the potential for fielding space-based weapons, the installation of new missile defenses, potential asymmetry in holdings of non-nuclear armaments, and areas of violence and instability, the official said.

"Without taking all the factors into account any talk about further nuclear disarmament in the way it took place would be irresponsible," he said. "We are speaking to the U.S. side and explaining our position on the issues," (ITAR-Tass, Jan. 28).

Chinese analysts said New START would benefit U.S.-Russian ties, but they also noted matters not covered by the agreement, China Daily reported. The treaty only cuts back deployed strategic nuclear weapons, skirting reserve warheads, tactical nuclear weapons and conventional military systems, said Guo Xiaobing, an expert with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. It also did not directly address establishment of missile defenses.

"While the disarmament deal has little impact on the regional situation, the renewed treaty has political implications for bilateral ties," Guo said (He/Li, China Daily, Jan. 28).

January 28, 2011
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today announced he had inked his country's ratification document for a new nuclear arms control treaty with the United States, Russia Today reported (see GSN, Jan. 27).