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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Vote on START II?

MOSCOW -- Russia's lower house of parliament may vote next Monday on ratifying the long-delayed START II nuclear arms reduction pact, but it is still not clear whether a majority will back the treaty.

Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, a strong advocate of the U.S.-Russian agreement, said the State Duma's managing council would decide Monday whether to include a ratification debate and vote on the day's agenda.

The U.S. Senate has already ratified START II, but the Duma so far has not. Russian ratification would be a bright spot for U.S.-Russian relations clouded by disagreements over the ABM treaty and Chechnya.

Monday's session is likely to be the last before parliamentary elections on Dec. 19, and the new chamber will convene only in January.