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Russian Duma Gives Approval To 'New START' Nuclear Weapons Treaty

U.S. President Barack Obama (left) and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev exchange the freshly signed "New START" documents at Prague Castle in April 2010.
The 'New START' nuclear-arms-reduction treaty between the United States and Russia has received final backing from Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma.

The State Duma voted 350-96 with one abstention to ratify the pact.

It will now go to the upper house for final approval.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty binds both sides to cut their numbers of active warheads to 1,550 within seven years, or about 30 percent below the levels of the 1991 treaty, which expired in December 2009.

It also reinstitutes some verification systems between the two countries.

The U.S. Senate approved the measure in December.

compiled from agency reports