The Russian-US strategic arms reduction treaty (Start) could become effective in early February 2011, president Dmitry Medvedev has announced.

“The treaty will formally enter into force after the exchange of ratification documents, which is due to take place at the upcoming meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers,” he said.

The meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US State Secretary Hillary Clinton is likely to take place in Munich on 4-5 February.

Medvedev restated the country’s stand on missile defence, adding it would continue to work on the system even after the new START treaty had entered into force.

The new pact replaces START 1 and cuts the Russian and US nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads from the current ceiling of 2,200.

The nation is also in talks with NATO on building a joint missile defence shield in Europe, according to RIA Novosti.