START Expires Soon
Russia and the U.S. have yet to reach an agreement to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START – also called START-1), set to expire on December 5.
Under the treaty, signed by Russia and the U.S. in 1991, both countries agreed to reduce nuclear warheads to 6,000 and delivery vehicles to 1,600. Eleven years later, the Moscow Treaty, a follow-up to START, required warhead reductions to between 1,700 and 2,200.
At issue are factors like mobile missile systems, delivery vehicle cuts, and how to inspect and verify warhead destruction.
Dmitry Medvedev said he believes the two will reach an agreement by the deadline, and added that his country “agreed to give additional impetus to those (new START) negotiations, find solutions on remaining issues. In some instances, those are technical issues, some are political issues. We will task our aides to continue working on those matters. I hope that…we will be able to finalize the text of a document by (the end of) December. The world is watching. It is all the more important now.”
The president’s National Security Advisor said both sides probably will negotiate a temporary treaty that would keep START in place until they can come to terms on a new treaty.
From the Heritage Foundation’s blog The Foundry:
“The Russians are demanding the removal of US monitors from a ballistic missile plant in Votkinsk, Russia. This is where the Topol M intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are produced. Under START, Topol is supposed to be a single warhead ICBM, while the U.S. suspects that the Russians are putting multiple warheads (MIRVs) on it in violation of the Treaty. Speaking in the Kremlin, Gen. Makarov remarked, ‘we don’t have such observer missions in the U.S., so it’s natural that we tell them that this mission needs to be removed. On December 5 it will depart.’
“US negotiators are rushing against this tough deadline, leading many experts to believe that the U.S. may grant more unilateral concessions, such as the recent cancellation of the Bush-era Europe-based missile defense.”