US Ratifies START

January 2011

On December 22nd, the US Senate ratified the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, when eleven Republicans voted in favour.

  • It limits the U.S. and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on each side.
  • When Moscow has taken action, the U.S. will reduce its inter-continental ballistic-missile fleet to 420 from 450, and reduce the number of nuclear-capable bombers to 60 from 96.
  • It includes important verification measures.

There has been a mixed reaction to the ratification from US anti-nuclear groups. Most say these are small but significant steps in the right direction but are strongly opposed to the concessions made in return for the support of the few Republicans who voted in favour. The US administration has promised to request $185 billion for “modernization” of the nuclear weapons arsenal.  Both countries maintain the ability to wipe each other out.

Russian President Medvedev welcomed the ratification and hoped that the Russian Duma would soon follow suit, which it duly did on Christmas Eve.