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What was new on START Web site?


March, 2000

March 30, 2000
Vladimir Putin's ascension to the presidency of Russia heralds what could be a more conciliatory era in U.S.-Russia relations, including potentially rapid progress on stalled arms control agreements and a new influx of Western aid for the battered Russian economy:

The Russian parliament appears close to approving a long-delayed pact to reduce nuclear arsenals: The Energy Department plans to renovate more than 6,000 aging nuclear warheads over the next 15 years, almost double the number that the United States is allowed to deploy under the START II arms reduction treaty, according to senior U.S. officials: "...Russia and the United States paved the way to real nuclear threat reduction by beginning large scale cuts of their nuclear arsenals. However, there is no reason to assert, that the world becomes less dangerous by decreasing the level of parity of superpowers only. Today one can affirm with a confidence the beginning transformation of "nuclear philosophy". However its perspectives and conclusions are not defined yet, as well as possible outcomes of nuclear superpowers opposition in cold war..." ("Dark Times" in START process, - in Russian, by S. Strelyayev, Obozrevatel' - Observer, N 2, February 2000)

The government of newly elected President Vladimir Putin reiterated Russia's opposition to a U.S. missile defense shield and sent vague signals about an imminent change in foreign policy:

Defense Secretary Cohen on NMD US-Russia Arms Control Relations: Remarks by Defense Secretary William Cohen to reporters at The Christian Science Monitor, March 24, 2000. See also: Delay Decision On Nuclear Missile Shield, (by Ellen O. Tauscher, Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2000)

Russia successfully launched two SS-N-23 submarine-based ballistic missiles on Monday:

"...The number of aged missiles is up to 70% (in Strategic Rocket Forces - Ed.). Half of the command facilities and 90% of ground technical facilities exceeded their guaranteed service lives..." - Komsomol'skaya Pravda asserts (Russian Army: A Dystrophic With Nuclear Bludgeon, by Viktor Baranets, Komsomol'skaya Pravda, March 28, 2000, p. 12-13)

"...There is no disagreement in the Russian General Staff on use of nuclear weapons... A critical situation is that, when there is a clear problem for Russia whether to exist or not to...," (A Mirror Of A New Military Doctrine, - in Russian, by Vadim Solovyov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 30, 2000, p.1,3)

In the recent issue of Yadernaya Bezopasnost' (N 32, January - February, 2000):

The Security and Defense Committee of The Federation Council held hearings on implementation of the Russian-U.S. agreement concerning the disposition of highly enriched uranium extracted from nuclear weapons (HEU-LEU contract). The reason for the hearings was a new letter from Lev Maximov to the Federation Council, (some of his allegations were published, in particular in Zavtra newspaper (in Russian). The Deputy Heads of Minatom Lev Ryabev and Vladimir Vinogradov presented reports to the Committee members on current status of HEU-LEU contract implementation. The speakers also included Mr. Zagireyev, Maximov's representative and Andrey Gagarinski, Chair of "The Nuclear Society". The Committee recommended that the Russian government should consider the problems related with HEU-LEU agreement and submit it to the Federal Assembly for ratification. A new information section at the START web site The Status Of U.S.- Russian HEU-LEU Agreement (in Russian) describes the events in the past and comments of the experts.

Current status of U.S-Russian cooperation in nuclear area is analyzed in the recent report of Harvard University nonproliferation expert and former White House adviser Matthew Bunn: The Next Wave: Urgently Needed New Steps to Control Warheads and Fissile Material, (by Matthew Bunn, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Harvard Project on Managing the Atom, Washington, DC, 2000)

More than 16,500 violations of safety rules over the last year were discovered in nuclear energy industry, - Sergey Shoygu, Deputy Chair Of the Russian government, reported, (Nuclear Rebuke, - in Russian, by Yekaterina Kaz, Segodnya, March 29, 2000). Russian nuclear research reactors are potentially dangerous because of a lack of finance to maintain them, Yuri Vishnevsky, head of the government nuclear inspectorate, said (Russian Research Reactors Unsafe, Says Government Inspector, by Agence France Presse, Russia Today, March 29, 2000).

A report "Nuclear and Radiation Safety in Russia" by Minatom released in Moscow this week outlines the danger of laid-up submarines. The hulls of 30 submarines are no longer hermetic; the boats are in danger of sinking (30 subs in danger of sinking, by Thomas Nilsen, Bellona Press Release, March 27, 2000). The suggestion that priorities must have been given to keeping decommissioned submarines afloat was made by experts of our Center already three years ago.

There is not only a "gas problem" in Russian-Ukrainian trade, but also a nuclear fuel problem as well, (A Soft Nuclear Blackmail, by Roman Khrapachevski, Izvestiya, March 28, 2000)

Academician Utkin's colleagues remember about the prominent designer of ICBMs: The Tamer Of "Satan", in Russian, (by Alexandr Brusilovskii, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, March 30, 2000)

March 24, 2000
The Russian government lobbied members of key parliamentary committees on Tuesday to approve the 1993 START-2 agreement with the United States that still has not been ratified. Advocates and opponents continue raising their arguments, though the discussion became entirely political long ago. "...Moscow will ratify the Treaty, but is not going to implement it...", Kommersant Daily concludes.

General Henry Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, Head of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation in the Russian Ministry of Defense, present their vision on future of START II and ABM Treaties:

Colonel-General Ivashov also stated, that Russia is ready to participate in joint development of Theater Ballistics Missile Defenses with the United States as long as the systems developed do not threaten stability.

"...Whether or not we overestimate the U.S. anti-missile threat for strategic stability is a critical question. Not only Russian position on ABM Treaty negotiations depends on an answer to this question, but future of U.S.-Russian relations as well...," (Saying "Yes" Is Advantageous for Russia, by Lev Semeyko, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 10, March 24-30, 2000)

Russia's disarmament ambassador Vasily Sidorov called for global negotiations to prevent an arms race in space in a swipe at U.S. plans for a national anti-missile defense system:

The Pentagon announced that it would delay by two months the next, decisive test of national missile defense technology, likely pushing back to October President Clinton's decision on whether to deploy the system.

Discussion on when the decision on NMD deployment needs to be made continues:

Komsomolskaya Pravda raises a question on who was responsible for security of Russia, when Vladimir Putin piloted the fighter flying to Chechnya, (Where Was the Nuclear Suitcase? by Viktor Baranets, Komsomol'skaya Pravda, March 22, 2000)

Russian concept of national security, ABM Treaty and recent visit of State Secretary Madeleine Albright to Moscow in a paper by Vahtang Chkauselu: Russian Military Doctrine: Change Of Accents, - in Russian (Nezavisimya Gazeta, March 16, 2000)

In the recent issue of Disarmament Diplomacy (N 43, January - February, 2000):

The PIR Center published a report "The State Duma and Arms Control".

Carnegie Endowment for Peace held an International Non-Proliferation Conference "New Challenges in Asia and America" on March 16-17, 2000 in Washington, D.C. The remarks of President Bill Clinton, Secretary Bill Richardson, United States Secretary of Energy, General John Shalikashvili, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other prominent speakers are available online.

New satellite images of Pakistanís nuclear and missile facilities provide fresh insight into the nuclear dangers on the subcontinent, according to John Pike, leading expert of the Federation of American Scientists:

On March 17, the U.S. Department of Energyís Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) signed two contracts in Moscow that will assist Russian weapons experts from the closed city of Snezhinsk to transition to civilian employment (U.S. Department of Energy Announces Russian Contracts, Department of Energy, March 21, 2000).

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson has appointed a blue-ribbon panel to review and assess the Energy Departmentís nonproliferation programs in Russia and recommend how its nonproliferation efforts can be enhanced (Task Force Created on Nonproliferation Programs in Russia, Department of Energy, March 21, 2000).

Minatom and the Industrial Group cancel the planed naval spent fuel storage at Mayak - regional storage sites at the Kola Peninsula are to be built instead(Mayak spent fuel storage moves to Kola, by Thomas Nilsen, Bellona Press Release, March 20, 2000).

Russian government considers a possibility to scrap the joint U.S.-Russian project of nuclear fuel reprocessing reactors conversion, (Russian Nuclear Reactors Are Not Converting, by Damir Zhamaldinov, Vechernyaya Moskva, March 15, 2000, p.4).

March 17, 2000
President Bill Clinton on Tuesday signed legislation designed to punish Russia and other countries if they help Iran develop weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. HAVE STARE radar in Norway continues to attract public attention. According to The Moscow Times, a Russian general, who asked not to be identified, said, that the Vardo station is "the last link" in a chain of radars deployed across Europe, Greenland and the United States that together will allow a future U.S. national missile defense system to home in on and destroy Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles in flight:

Future use of radar facilities at a US base in Thule, Greenland for national missile defense can be blocked by veto from a close ally, Denmark: Danish Opposition May Impede US National Missile Defense, (by Joergen Dragsdahl, BASIC, March 2000) Borys

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk urged Russia and the United States on Thursday to resolve their dispute over a proposed U.S. national missile defense system, (Ukraine Urges Russia, U.S. To Resolve ABM Treaty Row, by Reuters, Russia Today, March 9, 2000)

One of the most important military decisions in years awaits America's next president: whether the Pentagon should push forward with a national missile defense

The Pentagon defended its missile-defense program against accusations that TRW, a top contractor in developing the system, faked results of important tests and overstated a vital componentís effectiveness (MSNBC, March 7, 2000).

Discussion on START II Treaty in the State Duma continues. The Treaty is expected to be voted in April or May, 2000:

The Emphasis of the Strategic Forces development should be put on Mobile Platforms according to Lieutenant-General Lev Volokov (Ret.), a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy Of Sciences: Russia Will Find Answers To Antimissile Challenge, - in Russian, (Lev Volkov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 9, March 17-23, 2000, pp. 1,4)

International Institute for Strategic Studies reports say the Clinton administration may offer to slash America's nuclear arsenal and put anti-missile weapons on Russian soil if Moscow lifts a roadblock to the United States' proposed National Missile Defense system (US May Trade Nukes for Missile Defense, UPI, March 9, 2000):

Russian government decided to prolong a U.S.-Russian agreement on exchange of technical information on safety and security of nuclear weapons signed on December 16, 1994 (RBC, March 9, 2000 - in Russian).

Byelorussian Foreign Minister Ural Latypov rejected allegations about possible re-deployments of Russian nuclear missiles in Byelorussia:

Eleven strategic bombers successfully delivered to Russia from Ukraine as a debt for gas. The total cost of the planes is estimated as $285 million ("Bears" Grow Roots At Engels, by Oleg Litvinov, Krasnya Zvezda, March 11, 2000, p. 1)

The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry has drafted an ambitious proposal to earn $21 billion over the next 10 years by importing 20,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel from Asian and European countries for storage and eventual reprocessing in Siberia, according to confidential ministry documents obtained by environmental activists:

Two Pentagon reports on how former Soviet states are spending some military aid have been late, incomplete and inaccurate, fogging the question of whether the money is being misused, the General Accounting Office said Wednesday (Two Pentagon Reports Said Incomplete, by Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press, Wednesday, March 15, 2000; 6:21 p.m. EST). See also:

March 9, 2000
Russia's parliament speaker Gennadi Seleznyov said Saturday that the START II and START III nuclear arms reduction treaties would not threaten Russian national security and could be passed by the current legislature, ending years of delay: Russians Mull Status of START Pacts, (by Associated Press, Saturday, March 4, 2000; 2:52 p.m. EST). Similar thoughts were expressed by State Duma defense committee chairman Andrei Nikolayev (Duma to Ratify Start-2 on Security Conditions Nikolayev, by ITAR-TASS, March 6, 2000). In an interview to Berliner Zeitung Andrei Nikolayev said also, that Russia should abandon its policy of first use of nuclear weapons, because "...the statement harms Russian reputation and increases the threat of a nuclear war..." (Russia Demands Security Guarantees From The West, - in Russian, by Gisbert Mrozek, InoPressa, March 7, 2000)

Russia is trying to persuade the United States that there are alternatives to a U.S. national missile defense system, to which Moscow is strongly opposed, a Russian foreign ministry official said:

A former senior engineer at TRW, a top military contractor, has charged the company with faking tests and evaluations of a key component for the proposed $27 billion antimissile system and then firing her when she protested (Ex-Employee Says Contractor Faked Results of Missile Tests, by William J. Broad, The New York Times, Tuesday, March 7, 2000).

National Missile Defense program officials have pushed back the first demonstration flight of the developing NMD booster from April to July, (Inaugural NMD Booster Evaluation Flight Slips From April To July, by Michael C. Sirak, Inside Missile Defense, March 8, 2000).

Senator Biden has warned President Clinton that he should leave the decision on deploying a national missile-defense system to the next administration: Biden Joins G.O.P. in Call for a Delay in Missile-Defense Plan, (by Jane Perlez, The New York Times, Tuesday, March 9, 2000).

"...Belorussia prepares to return of Russian missiles. Alexander Lukashenko called the missile transfer to Russia as a mistake many times. The mistake may be corrected soon, and the missiles will return to their bases west from Smolensk..," (Nuclear March, by Alexander Starikevich, Novyye Izvestiya, March 7, 2000)

Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council experts published a detailed report on congressional FY2000 actions on CTR programs: Russian Nuclear Security and the Clinton Administrationís Fiscal Year 2000 Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative: A Summary of Congressional Action, (February, 2000). See also Bellona reports on a recent U.S.-Russian conference on CTR:

Moscow is intensifying efforts to attract countries the world over to dump nuclear waste in Russia for cash. A Russian government has held intense negotiations with French nuclear officials to secure reprocessing contracts. Under the deal France will provide Russia with modern equipment and technology in return for reprocessing at a former factory at Zheleznogorsk in the Krasnoyarsk region: Russia 'Wants Nuclear Waste', (by Alice Lagnado, The Time, March 2, 2000).

March 4, 2000
A US-built radar station being installed in northern Norway does not violate the 1972 ABM Treaty and poses no threat to Russia, Norwegian officials said

See also the English version of the article Antimissile Front In The Northern Norway, by Theodore Postol and Anatoli Diakov, (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 7, February 25 - March 2, 2000)

Top U.S. and Russian negotiators ended three days of talks Thursday in Geneva with no sign of a break in their deadlock over nuclear disarmament.

Russia and China Thursday denounced U.S. plans to deploy anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs) in space as part of its anti-missile defense system, in violation of the 1972 ABM Treaty (Moscow And Beijing Opposed To U.S. Space-Based ABM Project, by Agence France Presse, Russia Today, February 25, 2000). See also:

President Clinton will have to decide to deploy a land-based National Missile Defense (NMD) system by this fall to ensure its readiness by 2005, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization director Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish told a congressional hearing on Monday. The Navy's top officer Adm. Jay Johnson is challenging Pentagon plans to rely solely on land-based interceptors to shield the United States against missile attack, urging that ship-launched interceptors also be used to knock enemy warheads out of the sky:

Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye about the analytical report of International Institute Of Strategic Studies on U.S. plans to deploy NMD: Searching A Judgement Worthy Of Solomon, - in Russian (by Vadim Solovyov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 8, March 3-9, 2000)

"...If the United States manage to accomplish revolution of their armed forces, they will obtain a capability preemptively destroy nuclear tipped missiles of an adversary at their locations by means of air- and space-based assets, cruise missiles, bombers and stealth airplanes. Then, the U.S. will be able to finish off with their victim by systematic strikes from the air, as it was done in Yugoslavia. Not a single nuclear weapon, a weapon of poor, needs to be used in a such a war. Those rear missiles, which the victim manage to launch in a retaliation, will be destroyed by ballistic missile defenses...", ("Satellite Destroyer" Against Star Wars, - in Russian, by Aelita Baichurina, Vladimir Kucherenko and Boris Talov, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, March 3, 2000) See also: Entirely Different Wars Are Expected in the XXI-st Century - in Russian, (by Valeri Alexin, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 8, March 3-9, 2000)

Acting President Vladimir Putin urged Russian parliament leaders to ratify the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty (Putin Urges Approval of Arms Treaty, by Associated Press, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2000; 3:57 p.m. EST). Dr. Ivan Nikitchuk, a member of the State Duma, on prospects of START II ratification: Nuclear Ballots For the Third Duma, (by Nadezhda Garifullina, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, March 1, 2000)

Unification of military space agencies allowed to overcome a deep crises, according to Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, the Head Of the Strategic Rocket Forces: A Way To A Stable Development, - in Russian, (by Sergei Grigoryev, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 8, March 3-9, 2000)

Long range aviation may deploy a full-fledged regiment of Tu-160 (Blackjack) bombers in the nearest future: Spring Reinforcements Of the Long Range Aviation, - in Russian (by Ilya Kedrov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 8, March 3-9, 2000)

Russia could lose U.S. financial backing for its space program under an Iran nonproliferation bill the House and Senate both passed without a dissenting vote. The bill, which now goes to President Clinton, bars the United States from making "extraordinary payments in connection with the International Space Station" to the Russian space agency unless the president confirms that companies linked to the agency are not helping Iran's weapons programs. Russia rebuked the United States for legislation that could bring economic sanctions against Moscow for allegedly supplying Iran with weapons technology:

The report, which will be published jointly by Harvard and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, makes recommendation to double or triple the US annual budget of $500 million for safeguarding nuclear warheads and materials in Russia (Reduction Of Russian Arsenal Lags. Lack of US funding blamed for failure to destroy uranium, by John Donnelly and David Beard, Boston Globe, February 26, 2000)

Plutonium production and prospects for import of radioactive wastes in Russia in the editorial of The Economist: The time-bombs of Tomsk, (The Economist, March 3, 2000).

TVEL Concern, a largest Russian manufacturer of fuel for nuclear power stations, took control over Ulbinski Metallurgical Works, a large nuclear fuel manufacturer in Kazakhstan. Kommersant Daily characterizes this step as a major success of Minatom in a struggle with the U.S. business partners over costs of the HEU contract (A Russian Nuclear Blow On U.S. Interests In Kazakhstan, by Nikolai Ivanov and Roman Zhuk, Kommersant, February 29, 2000)

U.S. officials are awaiting word from Russian authorities on whether the two countries will sit down to discuss a proposed joint early warning center in Moscow that would monitor ballistic missile launches aimed at either country (Pentagon Presses Russia For 24-Hour Missile Watch Center, Defense Information and Electronics Report, February 25, 2000).

Academician Nikita Moiseyev died. He was a prominent expert in modeling consequences of nuclear war, ("Political Selfishness Is More Frightful Than Thermonuclear Bomb", - in Russian, by Oleg Odnokolenko, Segodnya, March 3, 2000)

Today at the Russian START Forum: role of nuclear weapons and national security.


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