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February, 2002

February 26, 2002
The second round of Russian-American talks on strategic arms reduction issues took place on February 19 in Moscow. Russian MFA's Official Press Release issued after the talks said that "...the sides agreed to intensify efforts in the preparation of...a legally binding agreement on radical reduction in strategic offensive weapons and a declaration on the formation of a new strategic relationship between Russia and the United States...". The talks will be continued in March.

Pavel Podvig, an expert with our Center, in his comment over the interim results of the negotiations noted that "...United States' aim is to make the "binding" document as least binding as possible, so that it would fix on paper what has already been said by the presidents with regard to strategic arms reductions: the USA will reduce their arsenal to 1700-2200 warheads, and Russia -- to 1500. At the same time, the US apparently understand that the main goal of this agreement is to let Russian president save his face in a situation after US withdrawal from the ABM treaty. However, they don't worry much about that as well assuming, not without a reason, that saving a face is its owner's business. At the final press conference in Moscow John Bolton gave a hint that if the sides fail to agree by May, the US will live without "legally binding agreement"...", (Russia Should Be Careful About Its Wishes - They May Come True, - in Russian, by Pavel Podvig, SMI.Ru, February 20, 2002). See also:

See also our special section on Status of U.S.-Russian Negotiations on Strategic Arms Reduction. Events, comments, expert opinions.

In his interview with Arms Control Today US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John R. Bolton acknowledged that the United States did not offer Russia amendments to the ABM Treaty before announcing its withdrawal December 13 (A New Strategic Framework?, an Arms Control Today Interview with Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John R. Bolton, February 20, 2002). See also: The ABM Treaty's Quiet Demise, (by James Schlesinger, The Washington Post, Wednesday, February 20, 2002; Page A15) and media comments on what Mr. Bolton said in the interview:

Russian Parliamentarians considered the fate of the funds allocated in 1997-2001 for the development of Strategic Rocket Forces. According to League of Defense Enterprises, ICBM R&D works received only 2% of allocated funds, while serial supplies for Topol-M production -- 18% (Kvashnin's Defense Is Attack, in Russian, Goryachaya Tochka, Issue No. 21, February 22, 2002)

A new U.S. intelligence report says Russia's nuclear material and power plants are vulnerable to theft and terrorism, despite U.S.-aided efforts to increase security:

Joseph Cirincione, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International's Peace's nonproliferation project, said that the conclusion on the increasing ICBM threats by so-called rogue nations has nothing to do with any acceleration of missile development in the three countries that Bush calls "the axis of evil", the real reason was a series of subtle changes in the criteria that the intelligence agencies consider threatening:

Russia will resume shipping nuclear fuel taken from old Soviet bombs under an agreement reached this week with USEC: Deal Reached on Key Security Program, (by Nancy Zuckerbrod, Associated Press, Friday, February 22, 7:57 PM ET).

Facilities to carry out explosive tests on nuclear weapons components, including plutonium, are to be built in Berkshire as part of a programme to keep Britain's Trident nuclear warheads operational in the test ban era: Plutonium blast tests at UK site, (by James Meek, The Guardian, Friday February 22, 2002)

An analysis of suspected radioactive substances seized in Afghanistan has found nothing to prove that Osama bin Laden reached his decade-long goal of acquiring nuclear materials for a bomb: U.S. Analysts Find No Sign bin Laden Had Nuclear Arms, (by Thom Shanker, The New York Times, February 26, 2002)

Greenpeace Russia has filed suit in a Moscow district court saying that the import of spent nuclear fuel from Bulgaria is illegal: Greenpeace Takes Nuclear Waste Debate to Court, (by Nabi Abdullaev, The Moscow Times, Thursday, February 21, 2002)

At the Russian STAR Forum: the dangers of deployment of weapons in space, and other topics.

February 19, 2002
The next round of Russian-American talks on reductions of strategic offensive arms began in Moscow. Russia wants to prepare a binding document which would assume "...radical, real and reliably verifiable strategic arms reductions...". US delegation is lead by John R. Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

See also our daily updated special section on the Status of U.S.-Russian Negotiations on Strategic Arms Reduction. Events, comments, expert opinions.

Last Friday US Senate Committee on Armed Services held hearings on the results of Nuclear Posture Review. Testifying at the hearings were Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr., USN Commander in Chief - United States Strategic Command , and General John A. Gordon, USAF (Ret.), Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration. Speaking on the mutual control over the future reductions of US and Russian strategic arms, Douglas Feith said: "...These reductions, and other adjustments in our offensive and defensive capabilities, will be achieved outside the Cold Wars adversarial and endless negotiating process that was centered on the balance of nuclear terror. Today, that competitive and legalistic process would be counterproductive. It would impede or derail the significant reductions both sides now want; it would lock both sides into fixed nuclear arsenals that could be excessive or inadequate in the future; and, by perpetuating the Cold War strategic relationship, it would inhibit movement to a far better strategic framework for relations..." Texts of the testimonies are available on-line.

See also Eugene Miasnikov's comment on the Nuclear Posture Review (in Russian), and our Special Section on The US Strategic Offensive Forces (in Russian).

Recent publications by the UK The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy discuss US arms control policy and alternative approaches towards control over strategic arms reductions:

Discussion
on the Current Status of Russian Early Warning System

"...Russia can find itself as a blind boxer with mighty nuclear "muscles" who doesn't see his opponent -- because its early warning system is in a sad state...", (As a Blind Boxer, - in Russian, by Alexander Ovchinnikov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 18, 2002). See also our Special Section Discussion on the Current Status of Russian Early Warning System

Kazan Aircraft Production Association is to complete production and deliver to 37th Air Army a new Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bomber this year: Bombers Head South, - in Russian, (by Yuri Golotyuk, Vremya Novostei, February 14, 2002)

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has granted the agency that is overseeing development of a national missile defense system extraordinary freedom from normal Pentagon procedures for controlling and monitoring new weapons programs: Rumsfeld Pares Oversight of Missile Defense Agency, (by Bradley Graham, The Washington Post, Saturday, February 16, 2002; Page A02)

US and Britain conducted a joint subcritical nuclear test: U.S., Britain Conduct Joint Nuclear Test, (by Reuters, Friday, February 15, 2002; Page A02)

In a recent interview US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham emphasized the importance of securing and eliminating Russian nuclear weapons and materials: The Next Step in Nuclear Non-Proliferation, (Speech by Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, Monday, February 11, 2002)

In order to prove vulnerability of Russian nuclear plants to extremist attack, a group of "greens" sneaked into the territory of Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical plant with Russian largest spent nuclear fuel storage facility and active nuclear reactor:

Despite the strong objections of Nevada officials, state business leaders and environmentalists, President Bush authorized construction of a huge, centralized site for nuclear waste storage 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas:

Lev Petrovich Feoktistov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has died. He was a prominent Russian nuclear scientist, who made a great contribution both into strengthening of the country's defensive potential, and into the movement for prohibition of nuclear weapons (Academician Lev Feoktistov: Greatness of Russia not in Bombs, - in Russian, by Alexandr Yemelyanenkov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, February 16, 2002)

February 12, 2002
The content of a legally binding agreement on strategic arms reductions that could be signed during US-Russian Summit in Moscow remains in the spotlight. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the United States expected to meet Russia's demand for a "legally binding" agreement on reducing nuclear warheads, whether that takes the form of a treaty approved by Congress or some less formal document:

A number of official statements made by Russian politicians in view of the on-going Russian-American talks on the next phase of the strategic offensive arms reductions can be treated as Moscow's intent and readiness for negotiations with Washington over verifiable elimination of reduced warheads. Our new section on Verifiable Elimination of Nuclear Warheads: What Lies Behind Russian Proposals? (in Russian) is devoted to this issue.

Thursday, Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) opened Moscow office and announced initial projects with Russian partners designed to strengthen global security by reducing the threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

"...Russia still earns from what had been made in Soviet times. Back then, they would give us money for restructuring of the economy, now they could write off the debts so that we could better safeguard our weapons. Unfortunately, now as before we earn political dividends only to keep something we have from collapse..." (Money for Security, - in Russian, (Varvara Aglamishyan, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 6, 2002). See also:

Russian MFA expressed concerns in connection with publication in the US of CIA's "Unclassified Report on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions" that "...makes an attempt to question Russian Government's "commitment, willingness, and ability" to curb proliferation-related transfers of technology and equipment...":

Itar-Tass quoted an unidentified Russian military-industrial complex official as saying there are plans to modernize missile defense system that protects the city of Moscow: Moscow to Upgrade Its ABM Shield, (by Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press, Monday, February 11, 2002)

UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw spoke in support of US President George Bush's plans to deploy national missile defense system: Jack Straw Gives Ok to NMD, - in Russian, (by Vladimir Kara-Murza, Kommersant, February 9, 2002)

Protest against import of spent nuclear fuel in Krasnoyarsk region took the almost forgotten form of rail war: last Saturday, some 600 residents of a town of Sosnovoborsk blocked railroad to the frozen construction site of Russia's largest nuclear waste storage site in Krasnoyarsk-26: "Atomic" War Turns into Rail One, - in Russian, (by Ivan Sukhov, Vremya Novostey, February 11, 2002)

Debate over the plane to build a nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada continues in the US, safety issues being the major concern of the opponents of the plan:

February 5, 2002
On January 29, the first round of Russian-US talks on the preparation of documents which are planned to be adopted in the course of the US President's visit to Russia this spring took place in Washington. Russian MFA's Official Press Release issued on January 30th, 2002 states that the Russian side proposed main elements of a future legally binding document presupposing "...radical, real and reliably verifiable cuts in strategic offensive arms levels - down to ceilings of 1,700-2,200 nuclear warheads within 10 years..." The next round of talks is set for February 19 in Moscow. It has been announced that US President George W. Bush's visit to Moscow will take place May 23-25.

The Status of US-Russian Negotiations on Strategic Arms Reductions. Events, Comments, Expert Opinions is a new section of STAR Site devoted to the Russian-American talks on reductions of strategic arms. See also:

Speaking at the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Russian Representative Leonid Skotnikov noted that "...Russian side reduced the number of deployed strategic carriers (ICBM, SLBM and heavy bombers) down to 1136 units, and the number of weapons attributed to them - down to 5518 units...", i.e. to the levels much lower than those envisaged by START Treaty (Statement by Ambassador Leonid A. Skotnikov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the Conference on Disarmament at the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 22 January, 2002)

Anatoli Kornukov, former Russian Air Force Commander in Chief, said that a decision was made to shut down the underground Central Command Post (CCP) of Air Force and Air Defense. However, according to Air Force press-service representative, Kornukov was speaking about moving to a surface building of only one unit -- communication division -- rather than whole CCP (Moscow Stripped of the Missile Shield for a Day, - in Russian, by Svetlana Nesterova, Gazeta.ru, January 29, 2002).

The administration of President George W. Bush is requesting $396.1 billion for the military in fiscal year 2003 ($379.3 billion for the Defense Department and $16.8 billion for the nuclear weapons functions of the Department of Energy). According to official DoD figures, the administration is requesting $7.8 billion for the newly formed Missile Defense Agency (MDA). However, funding for missile defense including programs not included in MDA totals $9.2 billion, according to the Center for Defense Information. Official funding is expected to rise to over $11 billion annually by FY'07.

According to a study released last week by the US Congressional Budget Office, building and operating the major missile defense programs could cost as much as $238 billion by 2025:

See also: World After Nuclear Parity, - in Russian, (by Fyodor Ladygin, Tribuna, January 31, 2002)

CIA submitted to Congress an "Unclassified Report on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions"

Andrei Kokoshin, Director of the Institute of International Security Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes that US won't solve the proliferation problems using police measures: Russia Needs to Put It's Head in Better Use, - in Russian, (by Marina Kalashnikova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 30, 2002)

Moscow Carnegie Center released the latest issue of Yadernoye Rasprostraneniye (Nuclear Proliferation) journal (April-June, 2001, in Russian). The issue contains proceedings of the Moscow International Non-proliferation Conference.

US intelligence agencies have issued an internal alert that Islamic terrorists are planning another demonstrative attack. According to the report, one target was a US nuclear power plant or one of the Energy Department's nuclear facilities:

See also a special section at the Nuclear Control Institute's website: Nuclear Terrorism - How To Prevent It.

USEC, Inc. demands a significant reduction of the price for Russian uranium. Minatom resists the proposal. The stakes are high in this political rather than commercial game: The Uranium Game Will Last Twenty Years, - in Russian, (by Viktor Miasnikov, Vremya MN, January 31, 2002)

The United States and Kazakhstan launched a joint venture aimed at processing uranium concentrates for use as fuel in commercial nuclear reactors. The project, part of a US nonproliferation initiative, calls for a US-based company to ship uranium concentrates to Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen, Kazakhstan.

At the Russian STAR Forum: recent US Navy missile interceptor flight test, acquisition costs of Topol-M ICBM, and other topics.


What Was New?

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