Medvedev submits new START for ratification

President Dmitry Medvedev has submitted the new Russia-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for ratification to the lower house of parliament – the State Duma.

“I have submitted the treaty on strategic offensive arms reduction to the State Duma for ratification today,” he said on Friday during a meeting with the leadership of the ruling United Russia party.

“I would like [to ask] the United Russia deputies, the entire State Duma, the Federation Council to take this document seriously and do what I was talking about during a meeting with the US President – carry out a simultaneous ratification, neither earlier, not later [than the American side]”, Medvedev said.

Earlier the nuclear arms reduction treaty was approved by the Russian government.

Barack Obama has also submitted the agreement to Congress, where discussions on the issue are underway.

The new START, which replaced the 1991 agreement, was signed by Medvedev and Obama on April 8 in Prague following months of tough negotiations. The treaty reduces the possession of both countries’ stockpiles over seven years to 1,550 warheads each, which is about 30% less than the 2,200 allowed by the previous agreement.

“I suppose that when submitting the treaty for ratification Medvedev considered the situation in the US Senate,” Vyacheslav Nikonov, the President of “Polity” Foundation, told Interfax. And the situation, according to Nikonov, is favorable –“there are chances for ratification [by the US side].”

“First of all, that is because there is a group of senators headed by Senator Lugar who are ready to support the agreement,” he said.

The analyst believes that timing is especially important since there are American senators who oppose the ratification of the new START.

“However, at the moment, 67 votes needed for the ratification do exist in the US Senate,” he added.

“Ratification is a tough process,” he went on. One cannot be 100 % sure that the document will be passed. “But I believe that it will finally be ratified. What is most important is that the document has been signed and both countries are fulfilling respective obligations,” Nikonov concluded.