Nationalists accuse Kremlin of caving in on new arms deal

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

MOSCOW -- Russian nationalist lawmakers on Tuesday accused the Kremlin of caving in to Washington to reach a landmark U.S.-Russian arms control deal, while moderates said the agreement doesn't go far enough.

The accord was announced Monday and is to be signed by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit in Moscow next week.

It foresees cuts in each country's nuclear arsenals to 1,700 to 2,200 warheads from the approximately 6,000 that each is now allowed.

Outspoken Russian nationalist lawmaker Alexei Mitrofanov, however, called it "an erroneous decision."

He said U.S. missile defense plans should prompt Russia to increase its nuclear arsenal instead of shrinking it.

"We are doing a favor to the United States. They form a shield and we break our sword. We must reserve the right to have as many missiles as possible so that we could deploy them under every tree," he told reporters in the lower house of parliament, or State Duma.

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