The Russian Parliament may delay ratification of the new START nuclear arms treaty with the U.S. to add strings that would offset amendments passed by the U.S. Senate.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday Russian legislators would ratify the START pact only after studying the ratification resolution adopted by American Senators. Earlier he had warned that the START was not up for additional bargaining, and that any amendments were unacceptable.
The U.S. Senate ratified the START on Wednesday, but the accompanying resolution contained clauses that Moscow fears could affect the treaty text.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, according to his press secretary, voiced the hope that both Houses of Russian Parliament would ratify the pact, but would need some time to analyse the Senate's ratification resolution.
The resolution contained an “understanding” that the treaty would not “impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defences” other than a limitation on using intercontinental ballistic missile launchers to place missile defence interceptors.
This understanding appears to contradict the START preamble, which says both countries recognised the “interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms”.
Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in the State Duma, Lower House of the Russian Parliament, said depending on analysis of the U.S. resolution the Duma could either quickly approve the pact on Friday, or could decide to include some conditions of its own, which would delay the vote.