US Senate comes one step closer to ratifying New START treaty

The nuclear disarmament deal between Russia and the United States has overcome its first obstacle on the way to ratification.

US Republicans have failed in their attempts to reverse one of President Obama's key foreign policy achievements.

Senator John McCain called for a new arms reduction treaty between Moscow and Washington to go back to the drawing board, but his motion was voted down by the Senate.

Obama is urging that the New START treaty to be ratified as soon as possible in its current form, which the President says will only benefit national security.

However, the likelihood the deal will be ratified in the Senate before the end of the year looks slim, and the Republicans take will claim a majority in that house in January.

The strategic arms reduction treaty was signed by Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama in April, and should slash the two countries' respective nuclear arsenals by a third.

But it will not come into force until ratified by both sides – something Moscow says it has been ready to do for months.