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Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, is ready to make amendments to the text of the new START treaty if the move is initiated by the United States, Speaker Boris Gryzlov said on Saturday.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama signed the new treaty on April 8 in Prague to replace the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009. It can only come into force after it is ratified by both houses of the Russian parliament and the U.S. Senate.
Russia has said it will act symmetrically with the United States regarding treaty ratification, but the treaty has met strong Republican opposition in the U.S. Senate over concerns that it may weaken U.S. anti-missile defenses.
"I hope the U.S. Congress ratifies the new START treaty, although we have already received information that they [United States] are trying to adjust and clarify the text," Gryzlov told the Rossiya TV channel. "If they do this, we will have to do the same."
"I have already ordered our international affairs committee to prepare possible adjustments to the treaty, in case such amendments are made by Congress," he added.
The Republicans won a solid majority in the U.S. congressional elections in early November, meaning President Barack Obama has until January, when the new Congressmen take up their positions, to try to push the treaty through.
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, December 4 (RIA Novosti)
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).