In an interview published in the 10-16 March edition of the weekly Interfaks-AiF,
the commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Army General Igor Sergeev, said that despite its shortcomings "there is no alternative" to ratifying the START II arms
control treaty. The 1993 treaty has been ratified by the U.S. Senate, but not by
either house of the Russian assembly, both of which must approve it before it can
enter into force. Sergeev endorsed the idea of extending the term for implementing
the treaty from 2003 to 2006 or 2007. Some of the treaty's Russian opponents have argued that it would be too expensive to implement in just a few years.
Sergeev also linked ratification of START II with strict American adherence to the
1972 ABM treaty. Moscow and Washington have a long-standing disagreement over the interpretation of that treaty. -- Scott Parrish