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Obama signed START in move towards reset - Putin

Stealth BomberMOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) - U.S. President Barack Obama is sincerely committed to a "reset" in Russian-American relations, said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"Have Russian-American relations indeed been reset? We can see - in my opinion at least - that President Obama is sincerely committed to it. Does it work or not? Well, we have signed the START. And it was a step in this particular direction. It is a fact which must be accepted," Putin said on Wednesday at a meeting with the staff of Channel One television.

Russia's attitude to it is positive, Putin continued.

"We have discussed this problem from various angles in the Security Council on many occasions, and Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev worked on this decision seriously, in consultations with experts. All this has been checked and verified," Putin said.

The START carries the president's signature, Putin said, making the point that precisely the head of state did the decision-making in this case. The START meets Russia's security interests, including in the ceilings on carriers and warheads, set in the document, he said.

Putin also said that the development of non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction is possible in principle.

"Many countries, including the United States, are working on this," he said.

Noting that the possibility of scrapping nuclear weapons was being increasingly discussed, Putin noted that the proposal to do so was made by the Soviet Union at one time and that Russia's position has not changed on this score.

"Of course, we know that the United States is launching the production of very powerful precision weapons, whose parameters and destructive effects are approaching those of nuclear weapons, but which are not of a nuclear type," Putin said.

"While signing any agreement with partners Russia will always measure up all aspects and decisions in the sphere of its own security, including in the area of developing smart nuclear weapons arsenals, to its national security interests," he said.

"We shall never sign anything that would damage Russia's security," the prime minister said.


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