What was new on START Web site?


June, 2000

June 28, 2000
Russian military and politics continue discussing possible answers to the U.S. national missile defense deployment, and sometime reveal very strange logic. On one hand they propose building a joint ABM defense to Europe, at the same time - threaten to withdraw from the INF Treaty and deploy medium range ballistic missiles (against Europe!) if the United States deploy NMD in spite of numerous concerns of European countries:

Commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces Vladimir Yakovlev on START II and ABM Treaties: A Chess Game With Nuclear Warheads, - in Russian, (by Alexander Babakin, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 27, 2000)

As the debate heats up over whether the United States should build a national missile defense, Pentagon is trying to silence an MIT professor Theodore Postol, one of the program's leading critics.

On NMD debates in the U.S. see also: Russia and the United States make further attempts to solve the ABM Treaty problem:

Leaders of the C.I.S. countries discussed current situation on strategic stability in the world and signed a joint statement (in Russian) :

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov suggested Russian experts should be allowed to work with Norwegians at a controversial U.S.-built radar station in Arctic Norway (Vardo). Norway officials refused to accept Russians.

See also our special section: "Vardo Radar: Unfriendly Gesture Or A Violation Of the ABM Treaty?" - in Russian

Denmark will effectively abolish the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty of 1972 if it allows a U.S. upgrade of its Thule radar station in northern Greenland, the Russian foreign ministry warned Friday.

May and June, 2000 issues of the Arms Control Today magazine are now available on-line. Publications include:

According to Russian press, relations between Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev and Chief of General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin become more and more complex. They are known to have entirely opposite views on the role of Strategic Rocket Forces and expediency of integration of Russian Strategic Forces under a unified command:

Russian Air Force modernizes its strategic, long range bombers, and develops conventional long range cruise missiles (Strategic Planes Will Become Multi Functional, - in Russian, by Alevtina Volkova and Sergei Grigoryev, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, June 23, 2000)

Materials of the Conference Helping Russia Down-Size Its Nuclear-Weapons Complex, sponsored by Princeton University's Research Program on Nuclear Policy Alternatives at the Center for Energy & Environmental Studies, Princeton Environmental Institute (March 14-15, 2000) are now available on-line.

The latest Russian deal on highly enriched uranium has raised concerns about bringing in new Russian production at the same time USEC is putting people out of work.

State Duma member Vladimir Klimov announced at the "Nuclear Society" meeting recently, that the Duma is ready to change the environmental law, which currently forbids import of radioactive materials from other countries (Import Or Not? The Problem On Reprocessing of Foreign Radioactive Wastes in Russia Is Again On the Table, - in Russian, by Denis Prokopenko, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 23, 2000)

An accord signed at the US-Russian summit here this month to destroy 68 tons of weapons-grade plutonium, enough to make thousands of nuclear warheads, could have catastrophic consequences, Russian experts warned Monday. See also the press-release of the SEU (in Russian)

Experts analyze prospects for U.S.-Russian relations: The First Meeting of Clinton With Putin: A False START, - in Russian, (by Alan Russo, a presentation at the press-conference in the National Press Institute, June 1, 2000, 12:00)

Today at the Russian START Forum: on world wide nuclear arsenals, Bush arms reduction proposals, possible deployment of light ICBMs, options to modify ABM Treaty and other issues.

June 21, 2000
A high-level meeting between the United States and Russia on arms control ended Tuesday with no immediate comment other than that the talks were open and constructive. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and his Russian counterpart Georgy Mamedov held closed-door talks in the Norwegian capital on Monday and Tuesday:

Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev: "...Analyzing general directions of research in the United States on creating military information and control systems, we consider NMD deployment as only a first step toward appearence of a multi functional global fighting system that would be capable to deal with all types of ballistic, aerodynamic, space and, in more distant future, sea and land based targets. Such a comprehensive defense system is going to be directed first of all against deterrence potential of the Russian Federation and People's Republic Of China. There is no doubt about that for the experts of the Russian Defense Ministry..." (U.S. NMD Deployment Will Destroy The Basis For Strategic Stability in the World, in Russian, by Vitali Tret'yakov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 22, 2000)

During his visit to Germany that ended on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined a vision of a pan-European defense shield against incoming missiles and insisted that, despite U.S. doubts, his plan was technologically possible. Putin also proposed that Europe join the United States and Russia in creating an early warning center in Moscow that would monitor missile launches around the world.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov proposed, that C.I.S. countries would support Russian initiatives on a joint missile defense with Europe, but there was almost no reaction (A Failure To Push Through, - in Russian, (by Oleg Odnokolenko, Segodnia, June 20, 2000).

Administration lawyers have advised President Clinton that, in their view, he could begin building the first piece of a national missile defense system without violating a 1972 arms control treaty with Russia. The lawyers' interpretations of procedures governing replacement, dismantling or destruction, and notification thereof, for ABM systems and their components offer Mr. Clinton a way to announce that the United States would go ahead with missile defenses while letting the next administration decide whether to break the Antiballistic Missile Treaty. Most likely current administration will approve beginning of construction for the NMD deployment, but avoid making final decisions on withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.

The remarkable summit meeting between the Korean leaders last week has left the Clinton administration widely divided over North Korea's intentions, but has not so far diminished its resolve to move ahead with a missile defense: See also: Theater Missile Defense in Northeast Asia, (Center for Nonproliferation Studies, June 14, 2000)

A classified report by a Pentagon-appointed panel, headed by Larry Welch, a retired four-star general and former Air Force chief of staff, raises numerous warning flags about the current plan for a missile defense shield, citing problems with the booster rocket for interceptor missiles, doubts about whether the interceptor can distinguish an enemy missile from decoys, and concern that the timetable for constructing a working system in five years is unrealistic. The General Accounting Office, in a new report also concluded that it will be difficult to know whether the missile shield will function properly during an attack because of strict limitations on the Pentagon's ability to test the system of powerful targeting radars, interceptor missiles and high-speed computers.

On U.S. public reaction on Prof. Postol's letter to John Podesta, the White House chief of staff, see in: Pentagon's Plaster Casts, - in Russian, (by Alexander Yanov, Moskovskiye Novosti, N 23 (1041), June 13 - 19, 2000).

Germany decided to give up its nuclear energy..., but in 20 years.

Nuclear power plant in Rostov may be put in operation this October in spite of numerous protests of environmentalists (It Is Being Built Anyway,... by Maxim Fyodorov, Novyye Izvestiya, June 16, 2000, p. 1,7)

June 15, 2000
"Russia proposed working with Europe and NATO to create an anti-rocket defense system for Europe," Russian President Putin told reporters a week ago during his visit to Italy. Putin's proposal became a total surprise and created much speculations. Chinese foreign ministry made clear, that China would not support the proposal. European countries were also doubtful about the Russian seriousness. During visits of defense ministers Sergeyev and Cohen to Brussels and Moscow respectively, plans of Moscow became a bit clearer. According to Cohen, "...the Russians claim they have a new system under development that focuses on intercepting missiles in the boost phase..." However, the Pentagon says that the Russian plan is, at best a supplement for the American system, not a substitute:

The Russian initiative gives a cause to remember proposals by Richard Garwin and Theodore Postol on a Russian-US Boost-Phase Defense Against Rogue State ICBMs, made in October, 1999.

Administration lawyers have advised President Clinton that, in their view, he could begin building the first piece of a national missile defense system without violating a 1972 arms control treaty with Russia, (Clinton Lawyers Give a Go-Ahead to Missile Shield, by Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times, June 15, 2000)

Experts continue discussing the results of the June summit meeting. "...Neither side was ready for what we would call real accomplishment..." - said Pavel Podvig, an expert of our Center in an interview to The Washington Post. "...To begin with, the United States wasn't really serious about this 'grand bargain' type of thing..." Clinton's answer to the question about 1,500 warheads "...shows that the United States wasn't really interested....Russia wasn't too pushy....We didn't really play this card. Russia wasn't sending all those signals about being really interested in deeper cuts -- 1,500 warheads or something like that..." (As Arms Cuts Stall, U.S., Russia Are At A Crossroads, by David Hoffman, The Washington Post, June 6, 2000, p. 1). See also:

President Vladimir V. Putin plans to visit North Korea next month, a move that underscores his active foreign policy and seems calculated to counter the Clinton administration's plan for a national missile defense.

The scandal on Vardo radar took a further development. Finally the Norwegian intelligence agency admitted that there was a missile defense connection.

See also our new special section "Vardo Radar: Unfriendly Gesture Or A Violation Of the ABM Treaty?" - in Russian

Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican and a leading proponent of missile defenses, stated that Mr. Postol is engaged in a "campaign against missile defenses" that involved posting sensitive details about U.S. missile defenses on the Internet that will help nations seeking to defeat the system.

Problems in development of the kinetic kill warhead for the U.S. Navy Theater Wide (NTW) missile defense project are threatening to upend the programs schedule and could increase costs. The central problem poor performance of materials is found in a key component of the NTW that maneuvers the warhead within striking distance of its target

An antimissile laser destroyed an armed Katyusha rocket in flight during a test in New Mexico last week. The development moves the laser a step closer to possible deployment along Israel's border with Lebanon (Laser Built for Israel Shoots Down Missile in Successful Test, by James Glanz, The New York Times, June 8, 2000).

Discussion on expediency and timing of U.S. NMD deployment goes on:

With $60 billion in potential business from an antimissile defense system, it would seem that the nation's military contractors would be using their well-honed lobbying skills to push hard in the corridors of power here. Instead, they are strangely invisible (After High-Pressure Years, Contractors Tone Down Missile Defense Lobbying, by Leslie Wayne, The New York Times, June 13, 2000).

Two computer hard drives that contained nuclear weapons secrets have been missing for more than a month from a suitcase stored in a vault at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The Republican-led Senate voted to prohibit President Clinton from making deep unilateral cuts in the nation's nuclear arsenal but to ease the prohibition for the next president. The Senate went along with a proposal by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., to allow the president to make warhead cuts but only after a Pentagon review every four years (Nuke Cuts OKd for Next President, by Tom Raum, The Associated Press, June 7, 2000).

For the first time in an unclassified forum in the U.S. Congress, a lawmaker last week disclosed the breakdown of targets in Russia for the United States strategic nuclear weapons. In an impassioned floor speech advocating the reduction of the U.S. strategic arsenal, Sen. Robert Kerrey (D-Neb.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said U.S. forces are aiming at 2,260 "vital Russian targets"1,100 Russian nuclear weapons sites, 500 conventional arms sites, 500 war-support industries and 160 leadership targets. The number of targets in Russia and elsewhere in the U.S. Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) has grown from 2,500 in 1995 to 3,000 this yeara 20 percent increase since START II was signed in 1993, according to Bruce Blair, director of the Center for Defense Information

The Senate has paved the way for the Energy Department's nuclear weapons laboratories to aid Pentagon research into a new low-yield nuclear weapon that could destroy hardened and deeply buried targets by penetrating far into the ground before exploding (Senate Bill Requires Study Of New Nuclear Weapon, by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, June 12, 2000, p. 2).

Russia's Defense Ministry and military industry have produced the first public encyclopedia on its strategic nuclear arsenal "Russia's Arms and Technologies: The XXI Century Encyclopedia," that provides unprecedented details about Moscow's weapons systems. The highly detailed information contained in the book on Russian missiles has raised questions among some U.S. national security officials and experts that Moscow is preparing to put its nuclear warhead and missile know-how up for sale (Russia Publishes Nuclear Arms Book, by Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, June 12, 2000).

June 5, 2000
Telling Russians they need not fear American missile defense efforts, President Clinton went to the Russian Duma with his message of support for strengthening democratic rule and the nation's economy

At a Kremlin news conference that concluded a two-day summit meeting, Clinton said he and Putin had agreed on a joint statement that "makes clear that there is an emerging ballistic missile threat that must be addressed, but we have not agreed on how best to do so." As planned, the two leaders signed agreements establishing a permanent joint early-warning center in Moscow to prevent miscalculations about missile launches (in Russian), and to reduce their stockpiles of military-grade plutonium by 34 tons each. See also the transcript of Clinton's interview to "Ekho Moskvy" (in Russian) and comments of the press:

In an interview Thursday night in advance of President Clinton's arrival in Moscow Saturday, Putin seemed to be shifting toward a more conciliatory approach after months of holding firm against U.S. plans to build a limited missile defense system. "Such mechanisms are possible," Putin said of a joint missile defense effort, "if we unite our efforts and direct them at neutralizing those threats which may be aimed against the U.S. or Russia, or which may be aimed against our allies or Europe. We have such proposals. And we intend to discuss them with President Clinton." Several experts speculated that Putin was talking about joint activity in short-range, nonstrategic missile defenses, which are far different from the plan now igniting debate in the United States. "...In reality, this would be the creation of a nonstrategic ABM system,..." said Pavel Podvig, an arms control specialist with our Center, in an interview with NTV television. "...This idea already has been voiced by the Foreign Ministry and other official representatives of Russia. As for the validity of this idea, it's not very realistic. The United States today does not seem to have a single reason enabling them to be ready or willing or interested to cooperate with Russia..." (Putin Suggests He May Accept a Missile Defense System, by David Hoffman, The Washington Post, Saturday, June 3, 2000; Page A13). See also: Putin's suggestion gives a cause to remind the idea to deploy a Russian-US boost-phase defense against rogue state ICBMs. See also: A Joint Missile Defense, (by Paul M. Weyrich and Edward Lozansky, The Washington Times, June 2, 2000).

Arms control experts mentioned problems and made their forecasts prior to the summit meeting:

Two of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's arms control proposals are not just controversial but would violate existing law put in place by his own party:

"...Currently, Russia is totally blind to a Trident attack from the Atlantic and Pacific, and, for all practical purposes, it is equally blind to a Minuteman or MX [missile] attack from the continental United States,..." concluded three specialists, writing recently in Spectrum, the bulletin of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: False alarm, nuclear danger, (by Geoffrey Forden, Pavel Podvig and Theodore A. Postol, IEEE Spectrum, March 2000, V37, Number 3.) See also:

See also our special section Current Status of Russian Early Warning System.

Experts continue discussing the new Russian military doctrine: Nuclear Umbrella Full Of Holes, - in Russian, (by Andrey Piontkovskii and Vitali Tsygichko, Segodnia, May 31, 2000)

In the May issue of Obozrevatel-Observer:

President Vladimir Putin has put the final touch to Russia's acceptance of the global nuclear test ban treaty, signing the law passed by parliament last month - in Russian, (Russia's Putin Signs Test Ban Treaty Law, by Reuters, Russia Today, May 29, 2000)

Yevgeni Adamov managed to keep the post of Minister of Atomic Energy. This means, his policy suits to the new president:

Russia has proposed selling extra commercial-grade uranium to a U.S. company, but lawmakers want the Clinton administration to reject the deal, contending it could lead American uranium plants to close (Lawmakers Fear Russian Uranium, by Katherine Rizzo, Associated Press, Wednesday, May 31, 2000; 7:10 p.m. EDT).

"...The shutdown is only the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the ill-fated power station, whose radioactive wastes and debris must be guarded for decades, if not centuries, to prevent them from further poisoning the environment..." (Living in the Shadow of Chernobyl's Reactors, by Patrick E. Tyler, The New York Times, June 4, 2000).


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