Russian general says new START 95 pc ready


"It is almost 95 percent ready, and only some points still need to be worked out," General of the Army Nikolai Makarov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta, published on Tuesday.
Russia needs to obtain "the Americans' agreement in principle to include missile defence issues in the treaty".

"This is connected with US plans for a possible deployment of missile defence elements in Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria," he said.
"A new agreement should state a minimally required number of warheads and carriers so that no one even entertained the idea of using nuclear weapons," the general said.
"But the factor of parity should be accompanied by the factor of stability. If the US missile defence begins to evolve, it will be aimed primarily at destroying our nuclear missile capabilities. And then the balance of force will tipped in favour of the United States," Makarov said.

"With the existing and maintained parity of strategic offensive weans, the global missile defence being created by the US will be able to have some impact on the deterrence capabilities of the Russian strategic nuclear forces already in the medium term," he said.
He expressed concern that "this may upset the strategic balance of force and lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons".

"Although missile defence is a defensive system, its development will basically boost arms race," he warned.
Speaking of when a new START might be signed, Makarov said he could not "name the exact date".

"I think the signing may take place in early April. Our president maintains constant contact with the U.S. president on this issue, and both are deeply immersed in this topic and the mechanisms that prevent us from reaching the final version of the document and approving it," the general said.

President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier that Russia and the United States were close to coming to agreement practically on all issues concerning a new START treaty.
The Joint Understanding commits the United States and Russia to reduce their strategic warheads to a range of 1,500-1,675, and their strategic delivery vehicles to a range of 500-1,100.

Under the expiring START and the Moscow treaties the maximum allowable levels of warheads is 2,200 and the maximum allowable level of launch vehicles is 1,600.
These numbers reflect a new level of reductions of strategic offensive arms and delivery vehicles that will be lower than those in any existing arms control agreements.
The new treaty will include effective verification measures drawn from the experience of the Parties in implementing START.
The Soviet Union and the United States signed the START-1 treaty on July 31, 1991, and the treaty entered into force on December 5, 1994. The treaty was concluded for 15 years until December 5, 2009.

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