US - Russia

Nuclear powers finalise deal on arms

Photo: Reuters

US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev have agreed an historic nuclear arms reduction treaty which cuts the number of warheads by 30 per cent. The new agreement is the successor to the landmark Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) which expired in December.

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The treaty outlines limits of 1,550 deployed warheads which is around a third lower than a previous upper warhead limit set in 2002.

The US currently has some 2,200 nuclear warheads while Russia is believed to have about 3,000.

The treaty also limits missile stocks to 800 deployed and non-deployed intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, submarine ballistic missile launchers and heavy bombers equipped with nuclear weapons.

According to the White House, the new deal will be signed on 8 April in Prague. It must still be ratified by both the US Senate and the Russian Duma.

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said she was confident the deal would be approved by the Senate.

Following the announcement, President Barack Obama said the newly-agreed arms treaty would strengthen the global effort to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.

"With this agreement, the United States and Russia - the two largest nuclear powers in the world - also send a clear signal that we intend to lead," said Obama.

A statement from the Kremlin said the new nuclear arms treaty between the two countries takes bilateral strategic ties to a new level.

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