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Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I)

Reductions to equal aggregate levels in strategic offensive arms, carried out in three phases over seven years from the date the treaty enters into force. Specific, equal interim levels for agreed categories of strategic offensive arms by the end of each phase. Central limits include: 1,600 Strategic Nuclear Delivery Vehicles (SNDVs); 6,000 accountable warheads; 4,900 ballistic missile warheads; 1,540 warheads on 154 heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for the Soviet side. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine committed in the Lisbon Protocol and its associated documents to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapon states in the shortest possible time, and to eliminate all nuclear weapons and all strategic offensive arms from their territories within the process of achieving their START reductions. In addition to the elimination of missiles, their launchers and bombers, START establishes prohibitions on locations, training, testing and modernization. When reductions are completed in 2001, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine will have no strategic nuclear forces and the strategic arsenals of the U.S. and former Soviet Union will have been reduced by 3040 percent.

After almost 10 years of difficult negotiations, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on 31 July 1991. Five months later, the Soviet Union dissolved and four independent states with strategic nuclear weapons on their territory came into existence -- Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. In anticipation of entry into force within a few months of treaty signing, technical characteristic exhibitions of strategic ballistic missiles and distinguishability exhibitions of heavy bombers began in September 1991 and were completed in March 1992. Both sides also began eliminating their intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and launchers, and heavy bombers well in advance of START's anticipated entry of force date. Through the Lisbon Protocol to the START I Treaty signed on May 23, 1992, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine became Parties to the START I Treaty as legal successors to the Soviet Union. The breakup of the Soviet Union delayed START's entry into force nearly three-and-a-half years until Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, which had inherited strategic nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union, ratified START and joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear states. On 05 December 1994 the parties exchanged instruments of ratification at the Budapest summit. START I will have a 15-year duration and can be extended for successive five-year periods by agreement among the Parties. All nuclear warheads have been removed from Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. Belarus and Kazakhstan also have eliminated all their strategic offensive arms, while Ukraine is continuing to eliminate its accountable strategic offensive arms. On 5 December 2001, the United States and Russian Federation successfully reached the START I levels of 6,000 deployed warheads. Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine, have completely eliminated or removed from their territory the nuclear arsenals left over from the Soviet Union..

START includes an intrusive verification regime consisting of a detailed data exchange, extensive notifications, 12 types of on-site inspection, and continuous monitoring activities designed to help verify that signatories are complying with their treaty obligations. Baseline inspections to confirm the accuracy of the numbers and types of items were conducted at 72 former Soviet and 35 U.S. facilities from March through June 1995. In January 1995, the United States began continuous portal monitoring activities at missile assembly plants. START contains provisions that permit up to 30 inspectors to conduct continuous portal monitoring at one U.S. and two former Soviet sites. Accordingly, a U.S. START portal was designated at a Thiokol Corporation facility in Promontory, Utah (a former Peacekeeper missile final assembly plant). In the former Soviet Union, the United States was permitted to conduct portal monitoring at a plant in Votkinsk, Russia (an SS-25 ICBM assembly site) and a plant in Pavlohrad, Ukraine (an SS-24 ICBM assembly site). Since START's entry into force in December 1994, Russia has not exercised its treaty right to conduct continuous portal monitoring at the Thiokol facility in Promontory. Assembly of Peacekeeper missile components at Promontory ceased well before START entered into force. The U.S. has exercised its rights at Votkinsk and Pavlohrad. However, by mutual agreement with the Republic of Ukraine, the U.S. ceased perimeter and portal monitoring at the Pavlohrad Machine Plant on May 31, 1995.

A chronological listing of major events and developoments.

Primary documents, including treaty text and associated memoranda, statements and other related material.

Chronological archive of news reports, commentary analysis and other related material.

START Glossary

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