Tags: Russia | US | arms | deal

Russian Public Wary of U.S. Arms Deal

Thursday, 25 Mar 2010 09:15 PM


MOSCOW - A sweeping new bargain to slash the offensive nuclear arsenals of Russia and the US – what they used to call the "balance of terror" – appears almost ready for Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama to sign.

Unofficial sources say the signing may take place as early as April 8, in Prague, Czech Republic, the venerable eastern European capital in which Mr. Obama launched his campaign for a nuclear weapons-free world just one year ago.

Experts say the new agreement, designed to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, will reduce strategic nuclear warheads by one-quarter, to around 1,600 on each side, and halve the number of delivery vehicles – missiles, bombers, and submarines – to 800 for each country.

But Russia's foreign policy community appears far more divided over the usefulness of the new START accord for Russia's long-term security, and some wonder what compromises the Kremlin might have made on Russia's insistence that a strong mechanism be embedded in the text to link the need for controls on defensive antimissile weapons with the treaty's cuts to offensive arsenals.

"It's always wonderful to see friendly handshakes all around," says Pyotr Romanov, an expert with the official RIA-Novosti news agency. "But for those of us who remember the late cold-war era, when (Soviet leader Mikhail) Gorbachev made concessions to meet American interests, in order to break the ice, there's a wait-and-see feeling about this."

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2010-15-25
Thursday, 25 Mar 2010 09:15 PM
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