Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ruled out total nuclear disarmament any time soon but said he was optimistic that Russia and the US would agree on a treaty to reduce arms. Addressing students at the IIT-B on Wednesday, Medvedev said he was optimistic he US Senate would ratify a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
“I think you understand that if the Americans don’t do this, we will not ratify this treaty – we agreed that we would do it in parallel,” he told students. He said Obama was trying to convince his lawmakers about the treaty. “But I am optimistic about this and believe it will be ratified,” he said, wishing Obama success in winning approval for the pact, which some Republicans oppose.
Medvedev also said that if Russia failed to find its place in a missile defence system with NATO, Moscow and Washington would face “unpleasant decisions” – reiterating the Kremlin’s demand for a satisfactory role in a European missile shield. “If we do not find our place in this system – and this will be clear in the next three to five, maybe seven years – future generations of Russian and American politicians will have to take very unpleasant decisions,” he said.
The treaty would commit the former Cold War foes to reducing the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads on each side to 1,550 within seven years, among other limits. It would also establish monitoring and verification measures.
Lawmakers in both countries must ratify the pact for it to come into force. Adoption of the treaty is expected to shore up trust between Moscow and Washington, but Russia has stressed that it reserves the right to withdraw if the US develops missile defence systems that the Kremlin views as a threat to Russian security.