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Disarmament and Non-proliferation Actions of Russia

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The Russian Federation confirms its position of principle in support of the efforts undertaken by the international community, including the UN, Conference on Disarmament and IAEA to fight terrorism and proliferation. Russia clearly understands that under today conditions the spread of nuclear weapons, together with missile vehicles of their delivery, would be fraught with generating strategic turmoil, increased risk of regional conflicts and use of nuclear weapons. Quite naturally, it is urgent to counteract such a course of events. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is the main factor allowing the community to holdback such a development of events, providing at the same time for the development of international cooperation in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear energy. That is why Russia attaches great importance to the comprehensive and impartial consideration of the NPT functioning.

Russia has completely fulfilled her obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of unlimited duration (the INF Treaty), which entered into force on 1 June 1988. As a result, ground-based missiles of two classes – medium range (from 1,000 to 5,500 km) and shorter-range (from 500 to 1,000 km) missiles have been eliminated. Inspection activity under that Treaty was completed in May 2001. At the same time also Russia continues reducing strategic offensive weapons.

The period of reduction of strategic offensive weapons foreseen under the START I ended on December 5, 2001. According to the Treaty, the parties committed themselves to reduce the number of their strategic delivery systems seven years after its entry into force down to 1,600units, and the re-entry vehicles warheads counted with them down to the level of 6,000 units to each of the parties. The collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 left the Russian Federation in possession of the vast majority of the USSR weapons of mass destruction (WMD) complex. Since then, Russia has implemented arms control agreements and participated in threat reduction programs that have dismantled and downsized substantial parts of its arsenals and made inventory numbers more transparent. At present, Russia is modernizing and recapitalizing its entire arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Although the retirement of aging Soviet-era capabilities provides much of the impetus for these efforts, Russia also views modernization as a means to counteract the conventional superiority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as a way to retain its status as a major military power. Given its extensive WMD capabilities, Russia’s active participation in nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament efforts is a prerequisite to their global success. Under the provisions of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT, also known as the Moscow Treaty), and the New START Treaty, Russia and the United States will be limited to 1,550 strategic warheads by 2018. According to the latest biannual exchange of data required under the New START Treaty, Russia has 1,765 warheads on 523 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), and warheads designated for heavy bombers. However, Moscow current total stockpile of deployed and non-deployed strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, including those awaiting dismantlement, is approximately 7,000 warheads.

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