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WASHINGTON, October 26 (Itar-Tass) — The United Sates and Russia continue to cut their nuclear arsenals. This assessment was made by the US Department of States on Tuesday that made public a fact sheet on the fulfilment by the two countries of their obligations under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New Start), which came into force on February 5.
The data are presented as of the 1st of September and reflect the formal statistics presented by the two sides.
The fact sheet notes that Russia has 516 operationally deployed nuclear weapon carriers - intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), deployed heavy bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and 1,566 warheads on them. The United States has, respectively, 822 and 1,790 carriers and warheads.
In general, the United States has a total of 1,043 deployed and non-deployed launchers of ICBMs, deployed and non-deployed launchers of SLBMs, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers, while Russia - 871, according to the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance of the US Department of State.
New START (formal name - Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms) was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague and, after ratification, entered into force on 5 February 2011. It is expected to last at least until 2021.
New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. In terms of name, it is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.
Under the terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half. The treaty limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, which is down nearly two-thirds from the original START treaty, as well as 10 percent lower than the deployed strategic warhead limit of the 2002 Moscow Treaty. The total number of deployed warheads, however, could exceed the 1,550 limit by a few hundred because per bomber only one warhead is counted regardless of how many it actually carries. It will also limit the number of deployed and non-deployed inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments to 800. The number of deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments is limited to 700. The treaty allows for satellite and remote monitoring, as well as 18 on-site inspections per year to verify limits.
These obligations must be met within seven years from the date the treaty enters into force. The treaty will last ten years, with an option to renew it for up to five years upon agreement of both parties. The treaty will enter into force when the United States and Russia exchange instruments of ratification, following approval by the US Senate and the Federal Assembly of Russia.
On 28 May 2010, the document was introduced by President Medvedev for consideration in the State Duma. On 6 July, the State Duma held parliamentary hearings on the treaty, which was attended by representatives from the Foreign Ministry and General Staff. On 8 July, the Duma Defence Committee and the International Affairs Committee recommended that the State Duma ratify the treaty. However, on 29 October, the chairman of the Duma International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, called for the return of the document to committee hearings, noting that the agreement does not restrict the activities of the United States on missile defence, as well as the fact that ballistic missiles with non-nuclear warheads are not covered under the agreement. At the same time, Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov proposed not to rush to the amendment, or vote on the treaty, and to monitor the discussions in the US Senate.
Following ratification by the US Senate, the formal first reading of the treaty was held on 24 December and the State Duma voted for its approval. The State Duma approved a second reading of the treaty on 14 January 2011. Three hundred and forty-nine deputies out of 450 voted in favour of ratification.
The third and final reading by the State Duma took place on 25 January 2011 and the ratification resolution was approved by a vote of 350 deputies in favour, 96 against, and one abstention. It was then approved unanimously by the Federation Council on the next day.
On 28 January 2011, Medvedev signed the ratification resolution passed by the Federal Assembly, completing the Russian ratification process. The treaty went into force when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged the instruments of ratification at the Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on 5 February 2011.