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What was new on STAR Site?

February, 2003

February 26, 2003
"...We have always had building our relations based on the balance of power. Times are different now, but it doesn't mean that Russian won't have contradictions with the US, even if, as I believe, they won't lead to a direct confrontation. For Russia, in order to ensure sovereignty and territorial integrity, solve the problems of restructuring of the Armed Forces solve the problems of moving towards democratic society that we have chosen, about thousand warheads will suffice. Even if Americans build national missile defenses..." (Counted Hours Left before a War with Iraq, - in Russian, by Vadim Solovyev, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 21, 2003) - an interview with Col. Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, first deputy chief of Russia's general staff.

Shortcomings of the SOR Treaty are analyzed in recent comments by Natural Resources Defense Council:

U.S. and Russian Cooperative Threat Reduction programs and shared scientific research projects have the potential to significantly increase the transparency and efficiency of nuclear disarmament, according to a policy brief released by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:

Converting long-range, ground-based nuclear missiles into nonnuclear rockets may become a promising way of further development of strategic arms, according to US Air Force officials: U.S. Considers Conventional Warheads On Nuclear Missiles, (by Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, February 24, 2003). See also Eugene Miasnikov's paper on Precision-Guided Munitions and Strategic Balance (in Russian)

After several reorganizations of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the future of TsNII-4, leading research institute of Strategic Rocket Forces is unclear: Does MoD Need TsNII-4?, - in Russian, (by Vladimir Yeliseyev, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 21, 2003)

The lack of reliable control over current technical state of the Moscow ABM system can lead to a catastrophe: Window of Vulnerability, - in Russian, (by Pyotr Polkovnikov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 21, 2003)

According to Russian MoD, early warning locator in Gabala can not currently fulfil the tasks, that the US can be interested in during operation in Persian Gulf: Military Alliance with the US Arrogated to Russia, - in Russian, (by Mikhail Khodarenok, Ksenia Babayeva, Arif Useynov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 19, 2003)


According to the US Missile Defense Agency, the missile defense kill vehicle will be ready for deployment as scheduled next year. At the same time, the Pentagon is seeking a waiver to exempt the missile defense system from standard testing requirements:

Los Alamos Study Group, a non-profit, research-oriented, nuclear disarmament organization published classified documents on its Web site revealing that Pentagon officials are planning to meet in August to discuss US nuclear weapons requirements, including the possibility of a new generation of nuclear warheads to destroy hardened and deeply buried targets, such as reinforced bunkers holding chemical or biological weapons.

Recent issue of The Monitor (Winter/Spring 2003, Vol. 9, No. 1) is devoted to US nuclear policy (a PDF file):

See also Interview: Ambassador Linton Brooks on U.S. Nuclear Policy, (by Leonard S. Spector, Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2002)

Lexington Institute released a report, that studies advantages and shortcomings of directed energy weapons (such as powerful lasers and microwave bombs), as well as political implications of their use:

The United States and the United Kingdom submitted a new resolution to the UN Security Council that would justify the use of military force against Iraq. A counterproposal from France, Germany and Russia calls for long inspections. The voting is expected to take place after a briefing by UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, scheduled for March 7.

Iran refused to sign an Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement with IAEA that would permit the agency to conduct more intrusive inspections and environmental monitoring in Iran. During his visit to Iran IAEA director called on the uranium enrichment site, near the city of Nantanz, which is believed to be a part of country's its nuclear programme:

Russia reiterated its stand that solution to the "nuclear problem" of the DPRK should be settled through a direct dialogue between the US and the DPRK in a non-confrontational manner:

At the Russian STAR Bulletin Board: criteria of nuclear deterrence, and other topics.

February 18, 2003
Valery Yarynich, Professor of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences continues the discussion on criteria of nuclear deterrence. His new article "Feasibility of Unacceptable Event Must be Excluded" (February 17, 2003) in the Opinion section responds to the recent Prof. Emid Ashratov's comment.

New draft bill on ratification of the SOR Treaty, prepared by Russian lawmakers, requires priority-driven funding of measures on preservation and strengthening of strategic nuclear forces, works on secure dismantlement of strategic offensive potentials, and on preservation of environmental cleanness of the weapons elimination and storage sites:

According to an article in Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, prolongation of service life of strategic ICBMs and nuclear warheads harbours the danger of environmental disasters: Aging Bacillus Eats Away Nuclear Shield and Military Aviation, - in Russian, (by Mikhail Khodarenok and Nikolai Bezborodov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 14, 2003)

Detailed analysis of the US administration's FY 2004 budget request for nonproliferation programs in Russia is presented in a new RANSAC report: Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Request for Nonproliferation Programs in Russia and the Former Soviet Union, (by William Hoehn, Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, February 11, 2003)

House Policy Committee released a new report on the US nuclear policy. Many statements of this document cause concerns of the expert community. Particularly, US intention to develop miniature nuclear weapons to be used against deep buried bunkers.


Last Friday, UNMOVIC chairman Hans Blix and IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei presented their reports to the UN Security council. The inspectors did not give an unambiguous answer on whether Iraq violates the UN resolution or not, however they noted that Iraq's cooperation with inspectors improves:

Last week, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution determining that North Korea has violated its nuclear nonproliferation commitments and stipulates for sending a formal report on North Korea's noncompliance with its obligations under its safeguards agreement with IAEA to the UN Security Council. Russian MFA considers this step to be premature and counterproductive:

A North Korean diplomat of high rank stated in an interview with AFP that if US attacks North Korea, his country will be able to strike any American military target in the world. Independent experts believe that North Korean missile threat to the US has been overstated:

Iranian Ambassador to Russia believes that American accusations of Tehran in nuclear sphere are aimed against Russia as US competitor in the field: Iran is Neutral, not Indifferent over Iraq Crisis, - in Russian, (by Golyamreza Shafei, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 11, 2003). See also:

Last week, US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held hearings on existing and perspective threats to the US national security. Heads of US intelligence services testified at the hearings. CIA Director George Tenet said in particular that growing is the threat of non-state terrorism, against which nonproliferation regime becomes less effective

US efforts to develop a missile defense system could lead to increased tensions in the current standoff between China and Taiwan, according to a report released by the Henry L. Stimson Center

The Russian Cabinet has approved a plan to halt production of weapons-grade plutonium by 2007: Russian Cabinet OKs Halting Plutonium, (by The Associated Press, Monday, February 10, 2003; 8:27 PM)

February 10, 2003
Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT continues offering a course on "Non-proliferation and Reduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction Regime and National Security" (in Russian). First lecture of the Spring term -- Missile Technology Control Regime -- will be given by Gennadi Khromov, Senior Adviser with Glavkosmos, participant to INF Treaty negotiations, on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 at 17:00 in room 239 of Novy Korpus Bldg., MIPT.

Russian MFA expressed satisfaction over the US Senate Committee on International Affairs' unanimous approval the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT).

Russian State Duma continues preparation work for ratification of the SORT treaty. The draft bill, in particular, provides for a list of conditions under which Russia may withdraw from the treaty. Among those are: US deployment of nationwide missile defense system that can threaten Russian strategic nuclear forces, build-up of strategic offensive forces by states, which are not members to SORT, in a way threatening to Russia: Lawmakers Dissatisfied with Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, - in Russian, Pyotr Titov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 7, 2003) - author is a Vice Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee
Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin
Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, former Head of the 4th Central Research Institute, Ministry of Defense

"...At the same time when everyone is integrating related forces, we go in a directly opposite way. The US just joined already integrated military space and strategic nuclear forces with missile defenses, while we completely destroyed a similar structure wasting several hundred million Rubles on disintegration alone..." (Kremlin Confides in Blind Cynics, - in Russian, (by Vladimir Dvorkin, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 7, 2003) - author is former Head of the 4th Central Research Institute, Ministry of Defense

Details of FY 2004 Department of Defense Budget have been released. Analysts estimate that Pentagon missile defense total will reach $10 billion:

See also our special section: US Missile Defense Funding (in Russian).

US Department of Energy is seeking $6.4 billion next year for nuclear weapons programs, a 9.1 percent increase from the previous year, which reflects administration's heightened reliance on nuclear weapons:

A working group convened by the US National Academies and Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) shortly after September 11 attacks, put forward new initiatives on further cooperation between the US and Russia in the area of nuclear security. Co-chairmen of the group, RAS vice president Nikolai P. Laverov and his American counterpart John Holdren, sent a report to the presidents of the US and Russian Academies. The report recommends high-priority actions for the US and Russian governments to consider as well as possible joint projects by our academies to further their work in the area of nuclear nonproliferation. Particularly, experts believe that Washington and Moscow should double their efforts on reducing HEU and weapon-grade plutonium stockpiles, and intensify work on dismantling Russian decommissioned nuclear submarines: Letter Report from the Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation (February 5, 2003). See also materials covering the US Congress activity in joint US-Russian Comprehensive Threat Reduction programs: Update on Activity in the 108th Congress Affecting U.S.-Former Soviet Union Cooperative Nonproliferation Programs, (by William Hoehn, Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, Press Release, January 31, 2003)

February 10 is the tenth anniversary of signing of the US-Russian Megatons to Megawatts Agreement on the use of Russian HEU removed from nuclear weapons. Minatom press service released a statement saying that more than 170 metric tons of HEU are irreversibly destroyed and converted into nuclear fuel:

Colin Powell's Remarks to the UNSC
US Secretary of State Colin Powell at UNSC

US Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks to the UNSC expectedly polarized the views. Should the inspections continue or it is the time to use force in Iraq?

US congressmen criticize Bush administration for inarticulate policy towards North Korea.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami announced that Iran had discovered and extracted uranium to produce nuclear energy. This is the first time an Iranian leader has acknowledged Iran's possession of uranium reserves:

Russian MFA expressed satisfaction over the decision by the US administration to resume the US participation, suspended three years ago, in the joint project with Russia, Canada, Japan and the EU, which China is also joining, for the creation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER): Alexander Yakovenko, the Official Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers a Question from ITAR-TASS News Agency Regarding US Administration Decision to Join in Implementation of International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor Project, February 7, 2003.

February 3, 2003
Discussion on the nuclear deterrence sufficiency criteria continues in the STAR Site webspace. Two alternative approaches are suggested in the Opinion section. STAR Site invites readers to discuss the issue and will gladly consider possibility to publish new materials on the subject:

N. Solovtsov
Colonel-General Nikolay Solovtsov, Commander of Strategic Rocket Forces

The views of Russian Military leadership on the problems of command and control system of strategic nuclear forces and conventional forces, role of sea-based strategic forces, and prospects of Strategic Rocket Forces are represented in the following publications::

What conclusions for the future efforts on the control of nuclear arms and their delivery vehicles can be drawn from the Russian-US experience? Can the experience of bi-lateral control of nuclear delivery means under START and INF treaties be used in a multi-lateral process? What verification systems and monitoring technologies are available and which of them can be used in multi-lateral format? Dr. Eugene Miasnikov makes an attempt to answer these questions in his article U.S.-Russian Bilateral Arms Control Regime: What Measures Can Be Utilized in a Future Verification System of Multilateral Nuclear Reductions?, (by Eugene Miasnikov, Remarks at the Conference "International Arms Control, Transparency and Verification in a European-Russian Framework of Cooperative Security," Berlin, January 24-27, 2003); also available is PDF version of the article.

General Accounting Office believes, that the contract to build the key weapon in the antimissile system was awarded not on technical merit but by default as a result of industrial spying:

UK House of Commons Select Committee on Defense supported a Bush administration request to upgrade a US early warning radar on British soil for use in the US national missile defense system:

US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said that president George W. Bush will ask Congress for a 30 percent budget increase for the Energy Department’s nuclear nonproliferation programs around the world. However, non-governmental experts of Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council said that the major increase is to be spent in the United States.

Among the materials of the recent issue of Carnegie Moscow Center's Yadernoye Rasprostraneniye (April-June, 2002), are (all in Russian):

In his State of the Union address last week president Bush stressed his determination to use force against Iraq. This Wednesday US Secretary of State Colin Powell is to present evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs to the UN Security Council.

Experts discuss the possibility of the US' using nuclear weapon in Iraq. According to the Washington Times, president Bush signed a classified document that specifically allows for the use of nuclear weapons in response to biological or chemical attacks.

Plutonium reprocessing facility in Yongbyon

American spy satellites have detected activity at the nuclear storage facility at Yongbyon (North Korea), where spent nuclear fuel rods are stored. Reportedly, when processed, enough plutonium could be extracted from the rods to make four or five nuclear weapons.

Viktor Kozlov, head of Atomstroiexport, said that he was confident that nuclear energy cooperation with Iran will be continued: Russia Seeks Iran Nuclear Deals, (by Clara Ferreira-Marques, The Moscow Times, Monday, February 03, 2003)

American non-governmental experts believe that US nuclear power plants must upgrade their spent fuel storage facilities to prevent terrorists from releasing large amounts of radioactive materials: Increased Security Needed for Spent Nuclear Fuel, Experts Say, (by Mike Nartker, Global Security Newswire, Friday, January 31, 2003)

British officials have presented evidence which they claim shows that al-Qaeda had been trying to assemble radioactive material to build a so-called dirty bomb:

They call Prof. Anatoli Matuschenko "stalker" because he was in the very center of an atomic explosion: Over Nuclear Abyss, in Russian, (by Vladimir Gubarev, Literaturnaya Gazeta, January 29, 2003)

What Was New?

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