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Russia will not hurry to ratify a key nuclear arms reduction deal with the U.S. if Congress delays its approval of the treaty, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said on Friday.
"If a delay occurs in the U.S. Congress on the ratification of the arms deal, then we'll wait," Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov said, adding that Russia and the United States had agreed on the simultaneous ratification of the landmark pact.
The results of November's elections to Congress, which saw the Republicans make big gains at the expense of the Democrats, may jeopardize ratification as the Republicans have repeatedly attempted to block President Barack Obama's initiatives.
Obama will have to struggle to enlist the Republicans to ratify the deal in the current lame-duck Congress. Otherwise the vote may be delayed until January 3, when the six newly elected Republican Senators officially take office.
Failure to ratify the deal would likely spell the end to the much-heralded "reset" in ties between Russia and the U.S.
But Mironov said he hoped that common sense would win the day and the deal would be ratified.
Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the arms reduction treaty on April 8 in Prague to replace the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009.
The new Russian-U.S. pact obligates both nations to cap their fielded strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 warheads, while the number of deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on either side.
MOSCOW, November 19 (RIA Novosti)
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Military exercises are held in order to prevent a war rather than prepare for one. If a potential enemy knows and sees that the Russian Army is constantly improving its skills and adopting state-of-the-art combat equipment and combat support systems he will hardly risk aggression against these Armed Forces and the country they defend.