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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia able to up nuclear arms potential after new START treaty - senator

RIA Novosti

04:44 24/12/2010

MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will be able to increase its nuclear arms potential after a new arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia is ratified, a top Russian senator said on Friday.

"If one reads the text of the document carefully then it becomes clear that Americans will really have to reduce the number of [nuclear] warheads, while if we [Russia] want to reach the levels defined by the document, will actually have to increase the amount of warheads," Mikhail Margelov, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, said in an interview with TVTc television channel.

The U.S. Senate passed the new START treaty by a 71-26 vote on Wednesday in what is seen as a major foreign policy victory for U.S. President Barack Obama, who is eager to "reset" relations with Russia.

The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, begins first reading debates on the ratification of the new treaty on Friday.

The new treaty, which has won the backing of the world's top figures, including NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, trims the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

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