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George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev signing START I in 1991
wikipedia-Susan Biddle, White House Photograph Office
Russia refuses to renew the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the US on dismantling nuclear and chemical weapons. The START agreement was originally signed in 1991 and has since been renewed twice. The latest agreement entered into force on 5 February 2011.
"The basis of the program is an agreement of 1991 which, by virtue of the time when it was conceived, the way it was worked out and prepared, does not meet very high standards. The agreement doesn't satisfy us, especially considering new realities," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov commented on the move.
In August, US Senator Richard Lugar traveled to Moscow to push for the renewal of a second bilateral agreement. The so-called Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which Lugar himself helped launch, resulted in the deactivation of more than 7,650 strategic warheads and is set to expire in 2013.
Ryabkov, however, was not enthousiastic about prolonging the program, saying that Russia now has the finances to carry out its own programs.
The abolition of the bilateral agreement is the latest in a series of actions signalizing the deteriorating relations between the two countries.
In early October, the US was forced to close its Agency for International Development in Moscow. The move was seen by critics as part of a Kremlin crackdown on pro-democracy groups.