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United Nations Global Issues

Disarmament

UN Disarmament Machinery

UN Links Relating to Disarmament — Other

Multilateral disarmament and arms regulation agreements

Bilateral agreements

The 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) limited the number of anti-ballistic missile systems of the United States and the Soviet Union to one each. A 1997 “demarcation” agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation distinguished between “strategic”, or long-range ABMs, which were prohibited, and “non-strategic”, or shorter-range ABMs, which were not. The Treaty ceased to be in effect as of 13 June 2002, when the United States withdrew from it.

The 1987 United States-Soviet Union Intermediate- and Shorter-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons, which includes all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 km. By the end of 1996, all the weapons slated for destruction under the provisions of the Treaty had been eliminated. The 1991 United States-Soviet Union Strategic Arms Limitation and Reduction Treaty (START I) placed a ceiling of 6,000 warheads on 1,600 deployed long-range nuclear missiles for each side by 2001, thereby reducing the 1991 stockpile levels by about 30 per cent.

The 1992 Lisbon Protocol to START I committed the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, as successor states to the Soviet Union, to abide by the START I Treaty; Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine were to adhere to the NPT as non nuclear-weapon states. By 1996, these three states had removed all nuclear weapons from their territories.

The 1993 Strategic Arms Limitation and Reduction Treaty II (START II) committed both parties to reduce the number of warheads on long-range nuclear missiles to 3,500 on each side by 2003, and eliminated ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) equipped with MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles). A 1997 agreement extended the deadline for destruction of the launching systems — missile silos, bombers and submarines — to the end of 2007.

On 24 May 2002, the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), also known as the Moscow Treaty, agreeing to limit the level of their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200.

On 5 February 2011, the New START Treaty between the US and the Russian Federation on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms, entered into force. New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. New START sets limits on the number of deployed nuclear warheads and delivery systems.