The modernization of Russia's strategic nuclear forces aims to ensure their adequate standards. However, this modernization program doesn't stipulate any drastic steps, especially those affecting the state's economic potential. This was disclosed by the Russian Federation's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who attended a session of the joint permanent Russia-NATO council at defense-minister level. The council held its session at NATO headquarters. Our plans in this sphere are not linked with US intentions to abrogate the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty, Ivanov added. According to Ivanov, the United States hasn't yet withdrawn from the ABM Treaty de jure; this will, evidently, happen six months from now. No one knows whether the United States is going to develop its NMD (National Missile Defense) system. Most importantly, no one knows whether the NMD system will ever be created, Ivanov stressed. Talking about the future of the START-II treaty, Ivanov noted that its future was quite obvious. Russia has ratified this agreement; however, the United States has failed to do the same. Moreover, it's unlikely to ratify this document. Consequently, the START-II treaty hasn't entered into force. We've got to draft a new legally binding framework agreement, which would make it incumbent on the United States and Russia to fulfil specific agreements, and which would also stipulate drastic nuclear-warhead cuts in conditions of complete mutual transparency and trust, Ivanov said in conclusion.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18