The second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) was an agreement on the reduction and limitation of offensive arms signed by U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1993. Though the convention never came into force, it would have banned the use of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The demise of the treaty came from a Russian withdrawal after the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Russia claimed it had only agreed to START II on the condition that the United States preserved the ABM treaty. START II was eventually replaced by the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (SORT).
Negotiations began in 1992 with the signing of a joint understanding by the Russian and American presidents. This was quickly followed by the official agreement signed the following year and the U.S. Senate’s ratification of the convention in 1996. The Russian Duma delayed ratifying the treaty ostensibly in protest of the eastward military expansion of NATO and American actions in Kosovo and Iraq.
Finally, the Russian parliament ratified START II in April 2000 with some conditionalities. These included that the United States would uphold the ABM treaty and ratify an addendum to START II on the demarcation of strategic and tactical missile defenses. The U.S. Senate never ratified this addendum, so START II never entered into force. In 2002, Russia pulled out of the agreement in response to the American withdrawal from the ABM treaty.
By December 4, 2001, START II would have imposed mandates on each party including that:
The number of nuclear warheads be reduced by 5,000
- Strategic warheads could not exceed 4,250, including those on ICBMs, SLBMs, and nuclear heavy bombers
- No more than 1,200 warheads could be deployed on ICBMs with MIRV capabilities
- No more than 2,160 warheads could be deployed on SLBMs
- No more than 650 warheads could be deployed on heavy ICBMs
By December 31, 2002, START II would have imposed the following mandates on each party including that:
- The total number of deployed strategic warheads could not exceed 3,500
- No warhead could be downloaded onto ICBMs or heavy ICBMs with MIRV capabilities
- No ICBM with MIRV capabilities could be deployed
- No more than 1,750 warheads could be deployed on SLBMs, but there was no prohibition on SLBMs with MIRV capability