Stage Set for New Fight Over Missile Defense

From the Cable: A new gambit by Russia to link missile defense to a still-pending nuclear arms agreement is threatening to throw another wrench into plans to quickly sign and pass the deal in Congress.

Russian officials including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have explicitly linked U.S. missile defense plans to the treaty. Now, two sources who were briefed on the negotiations say the Russians intend to release a statement declaring their right to unilaterally withdraw from the new agreement if they believe U.S. missile defense deployments upset "strategic stability."

Nothing’s final until announced, but three key senators are already warning that they can’t go along with that. In a not-yet-released letter obtained exclusively by The Cable, Arizona Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain, and Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman warn National Security Advisor James L. Jones, "Even as a unilateral declaration, a provision like this would put pressure on the United States to limit its systems or their deployment because of Russian threats of withdrawal from the treaty." (photo: Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic)

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