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Russian lower house set to ratify new START treaty on Jan. 25

MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti)-Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, will give the new arms reduction deal with the United States a third and final reading on January 25, house speaker Boris Gryzlov said on Tuesday.

U.S. Nuclear Missile in SiloThe Duma approved the agreement in its first reading on December 24, and will consider it in the second reading on January 14.

"There is one amendment [to the resolution], but it is a rather large one, where the main resolution - to ratify the treaty - is supplemented with six additional articles," Gryzlov said.

The speaker said two draft resolutions had been prepared for the final reading.

"One of them deals with international issues and will be sent to the U.S. Congress, and the second is about measures aimed at strengthening our defense capability," he said.

Mikhail Margelov, the head of the Federation Council's foreign relations committee later said that the upper house of the Russian parliament would ratify the treaty shortly after approval by the State Duma.

The United States Senate ratified the new arms deal with Russia on December 22. The agreement will come into force after ratification by both houses of the Russian parliament.

The new treaty replacing the START 1 that expired in December 2009 was signed in Prague in April by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama.

The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

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