Moscow expects the USA to meet the reduction level stipulated in the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, said Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko in a Wednesday statement. The point is, there are still "some subject-related issues left," and Russia hopes they "will be settled in the immediate future," stated Yakovenko. "Complete and timely realization of START-1 terms serves as a good basis for pacts on further radical reduction of strategic offensive weapons as agreed by the presidents of Russia and the USA during their summit meeting in November," points out Yakovenko, recalling that the Treaty sets the deadline of strategic arms reduction on December 5, 2001. Parties to the Treaty -- the United States on the one hand and Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine acting on behalf of the former Soviet Union on the other -- committed themselves to reduce the number of their strategic carriers to 1,600 each and the number of warheads to 6,000 each. The commitment was to be fulfilled within 7 years beginning the day START-1 entered into force and followed by further limitations. The Russian side has fulfilled its commitments and met the deadline by reducing the number of its deployed strategic carriers and warheads to 1,136 and 5,518 respectively by December 5, 2001, stressed Yakovenko, adding that Moscow expects "the United States to do the same."
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea