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Russia welcomes US Senate's ratification of arms cut deal

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has welcomed the ratification of a new US-Russia arms reduction deal by the American Senate but said it will take some time for the Russian lawmakers to study the amendments to the treaty. The US Senate yesterday ratified the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia, with a vote of 71 for and 26 against.

world Updated: Dec 23, 2010 12:22 IST

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has welcomed the ratification of a new US-Russia arms reduction deal by the American Senate but said it will take some time for the Russian lawmakers to study the amendments to the treaty.

The US Senate on Wednesday ratified the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia, with a vote of 71 for and 26 against. The agreement will come into force after ratification by both houses of the Russian parliament.

"President Dmitry Medvedev was satisfied with the news that the US Senate had ratified the new START treaty and expressed hope that Russia's State Duma and the Federation Council would be ready to review and ratify this document," the Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said on Thursday.

However, the president believes that "the Russian parliament might need some time to study the legal aspects of the ratification by the Senate prior to making its own decision", Timakova said.

The new START treaty, which restricts both nations to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200, was signed by Medvedev and his US counterpart Barack Obama in April this year.

The Senate ratified the new arms pact after 18 hearings and seven days of debate, answering more than 1,000 questions in line with the document.

The White House and State Department spent several months in heavy debates with Republican lawmakers to pass the bill.

The Republicans were attempting to put the final vote off until the beginning of 2011 when the number of Republicans in the Senate would significantly increase, giving them more muscle.

A resolution, which accompanies the nuclear arms reduction treaty approved by the Senate, contains at least two minor amendments that could draw Russia's attention, the Republican senators demanded that Pentagon should modernise the US nuclear triad and that Washington should start discussions with Moscow on Russia's superiority in tactical nuclear weapons.

The resolution, though, does not change the nature of the treaty or the obligations of the signatories.