Diplomatic and Military Affairs

Russian parliament approves arms pact with US

Updated: 2011-01-26 16:36


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MOSCOW - Russia's parliament approved the first nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States in nearly a decade on Wednesday, voting to ratify the pact at the centre of improved ties between the former Cold War foes.

The Federation Council, Russia's upper parliament house, unanimously passed a bill required for ratification of the New START treaty, which Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in April 2010.

The treaty, approved by the US Senate last month and by Russia's lower parliament house on Tuesday, will commit the countries to ceilings of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads in seven years.

Approval by the Kremlin-controlled parliament was all but certain. Arms control experts say Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal is likely to be near or below the limits in the pact within about half a decade.

The upper house vote sends the ratification bill to Medvedev for his signature. The treaty will enter force with an exchange of ratification documents by US and Russian officials, expected within weeks.



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