The aim of the modernisation of the Russian strategic nuclear forces is to maintain them at a proper level "but without any radical steps affecting the country's economic possibilities," Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov said on December 18 in a live interview with Podrobnosti (Details) programme broadcast by the Russian television channel RTR. He participated in the session of the Russia-NATO joint permanent council at the level of the heads of military departments held at the NATO headquarters. Ivanov noted that "our plans in this sphere are not in any way linked with the US intended withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. " As the Russian defence minister pointed out, legally the USA has not yet withdrawn from the ABM Treaty and apparently this will happen in six months. According to him, what is significant is that no one knows when the national missile defence system will be created in the USA and "apparently, the main thing is that no one knows whether it will ever be created." Speaking about the fate of the START-II Treaty, Sergei Ivanov noted that "this fate is transparent enough." He explained that "Russia ratified this Treaty while the USA did not and apparently will not ratify it. Correspondingly, the Treaty has not come into force." The Russian defence minister stressed that "it is important to elaborate within a short period of time, perhaps, within six months a basis for a new legally binding treaty for the USA and Russia to stipulate a radical cut of warheads! ! by each side, upon complete transparency and trust for each other."