Russia may withdraw from the strategic arms reductions treaty with the United States at any time if strategic weapons that appear in the future do not fall under the agreement, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Tuesday.
"As for new weapons systems, it is impossible to include all possible scenarios of their development in the treaty itself or in related documents. That is why an agreement was reached [to establish] a bilateral consultative commission that would discuss in a year, or five years, or ten years... if new weapons fall within the agreement or not," said Konstanin Kosachev, who heads the committee in charge of international affairs of the Russian parliament's lower house, the State Duma.
The statement was made during Tuesday's session of the State Duma, which saw lawmakers considering the arms cuts treaty with the United States in the third and final reading.
The vote on the treaty is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. Moscow time (14:00 GMT).
The new agreement, replacing thec I that expired in December 2009, was ratified by the U.S. Senate in late December and will come into force after it has been ratified by both houses of the Russian parliament.
The foreign relations and defense committees of Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, recommended the chamber approve the new arms cuts pact on Wednesday.
In line with Article 14 of the agreement, both Russia and the United States have the right to withdraw from the treaty if the bilateral commission fails to reach an agreement, Kosachev said.
"Thus, we are fully protected by the envisaged mechanisms from all possible surprises in this sphere," the lawmaker said.
The new arms reduction pact was signed in Prague last April by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama. The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.
Kosachev also said the nuclear defense shield was not the only instrument to assure Russia's sovereignty, adding that "successful, powerful, graduate economic growth, the resolution of social issues and the development of political systems" were also important elements in assuring the country's security.
MOSCOW, January 25 (RIA Novosti)