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    Russia's upper house may ratify New START treaty on Jan. 26

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    Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, may ratify the new U.S.-Russian arms reduction deal on January 26, a top Russian senator said on Monday.

    Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, may ratify the new U.S.-Russian arms reduction deal on January 26, a top Russian senator said on Monday.

    The United States Senate last week ratified the new START treaty with Russia, with a vote of 71 for and 26 against. The agreement will come into force after ratification by both houses of the Russian parliament.

    "Today it is highly likely that the Federation Council will ratify the New START treaty on January 26 and send the agreement to the Russian president for signature," said Mikhail Margelov, who heads the upper house's international affairs committee.

    Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on Friday approved the first of three readings for the ratification of the new treaty. The bill received 350 votes with 58 against it.

    It was earlier believed that the document could be approved in the first reading. However, the lawmakers finally delayed the ratification of the treaty saying they will need three readings before the final ratification.

    The new treaty, to replace the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009, was signed in Prague in April by the presidents of Russia and the United States, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama.

    The document, which has won the backing of the world's top figures, including NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, trims the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

    MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti)

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