Russian Parliament Ratifies New START

Russia’s Federation Council, its upper house of parliament, on Wednesday approved the New START arms reduction agreement, less than five weeks after the US Senate ratified the pact. After adding several unilateral, non-binding declarations to the treaty, the 137 council deputies present voiced their unanimous consent, reported Reuters. On the previous day, Russia’s lower house, the Duma, voted in favor of the treaty by a 350-96 margin, reported Voice of America. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s signing of the ratification bill is the last step before the treaty enters force through the exchange of ratification documents between the US and Russia. That handover is anticipated within several weeks. Under New START, the two states will be mutually bound to cap their deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550 and deployed launch vehicles at 700, with an overall limit of 800 launchers. President Obama and Medvedev signed the treaty last April.