What was new on START Web site?


October, 1999

October 22, 1999
U.S. attempts to revise the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty risk undermining all other efforts to further reduce nuclear weapons, Russia said today as the countries wrapped up two days of weapons talks. There was no sign of any breakthroughs in the discussions, and none was expected. A strongly worded statement by Russia's Foreign Ministry reflected Moscow's adamant opposition to any changes in the 1972 treaty.

Russia poured cold water on the idea of receiving help from the United States to complete a Siberian missile-tracking radar station in exchange for agreement on changes to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. In a brief statement, the Foreign Ministry said "there are no grounds" for American newspaper reports about the U.S. offer of assistance that were published on Sunday. Pavel Podvig, an expert of our Center said in an interview to The Washington Post: "...I have a very strong impression that the Russian military, and the Foreign Ministry as well, have taken this issue to heart, and they are determined to stand firm on ABM no matter what... The United States should understand what the situation is. There should be a clear understanding Russia is not at all happy with all this talk about changing the ABM treaty, and some in Russia seem to be willing to go as far as to pull out of the START I treaty..." (Russia Apparently Snubs U.S. Radar Offer Aid to Complete Siberian Site Was Made in Exchange for ABM Treaty Changes, by David Hoffman, , The Washington Post, Wednesday, October 20, 1999; Page A26)

See also the recent Center's press-release and Pavel Podvig's comments (both in Russian).

Russia and China on Thursday backed a U.N. resolution demanding compliance with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and said they would seek international support in pressuring the United States against amending the agreement. The resolution must be approved by the disarmament committee before being submitted to the full General Assembly. While General Assembly resolutions are non binding, they do express the sentiments of the 188 U.N. members (Russia, China Make Demands on U.S., by Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, Thursday, Oct. 21, 1999; 7:52 p.m. EDT)

The Pentagon has decided that if President Clinton chooses to deploy a national defense against ballistic missile attack, it should be based in Alaska (Pentagon Eyes Alaska Defense System, by Robert Burns, Associated Press, Thursday, Oct. 21, 1999; 4:43 p.m. EDT).

Moves to deploy ballistic missile defenses are criticised by the U.S. experts:

Russia handed control of a key radar facility over to the former Soviet republic of Latvia on Thursday, formally ending its resented, half-century military presence in the Baltic states:

Russia successfully test-launched an SS-19 ballistic missile Wednesday from neighboring Kazakstan: Russia Tests Ballistic Missile, (by Associated Press, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 1999; 9:10 a.m. EDT)

Ukraine prepares to transfer 11 Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers to Russia.

Russian government wants to submit the CTBT to the parliament (Treaty to Go to Duma, The Moscow Times, October 22, 1999)

The Central Intelligence Agency expressed some concern over the safety of aging Soviet-era nuclear power plants in Russia and Ukraine (Year 2000 Bugs Still Threatens Soviet-Era A-Plants, The New York Times, October 22, 1999). See also Supported by International Technical Center, Nine Nuclear Power Stations Set About to Solve the Y2K Problem, (Press-conferences held by National Press Institute, June 2, 1999, - in Russian)

Russian government decided to resume production of sea-launched ballistic missiles including the most modern SS-N-23 SLBMs (Makeyev's Design Bureau Has A Defense Order for the Nearest Future, - in Russian, South-Urals Press Service, October 20, 1999)

Preparations began to dispose first Typhoon SSBN. According to Bellona environmental organization, CTR's objective so far is to dismantle 32 SSBNs: one Yankee, 26 Deltas, and 5 Typhoons:

The United States stored 12,000 nuclear weapons and components in Morocco, Japan, Iceland, Puerto Rico, Cuba and at least 23 other countries and five territories during the Cold War, according to a new article based on a recently declassified document:

A new book narrates the history of Indias nuclear program from 1947 through the end of 1998: India's Nuclear Bomb (by George Perkovich, University of California Press, 1999)

Academician Nikolai Dollezhal, designer of the first submarine nuclear reactors, is celebrating 100-s anniversary soon: Optimist's Life Is Long, - in Russian, (by Svetlana Kovaleva, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 20, 1999)

October 18, 1999
In a dramatic reversal of previous policy, the United States is now offering to help Russia complete a large missile tracking radar near Irkutsk, Siberia if Moscow agrees in exchange to renegotiate ABM Treaty:

"...If ABM Treaty is broken, all negotiations on START will be senseless...,"- Igor Ivanov, Russian Foreign Minister said in an interview to Nezavisimaya Gazeta:

According to Vladimir Basistov, Chief Designer and Director of Radiotechnic Means and Systems Design Bureau (Scientific Research Institute of the Radio Engineering, NIIRP), Russia is missing an opportunity to improve the world security by the means of regional antimissile systems: Development Must Be Harmonious ( Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 40, October 15-21, 1999, p. 4)

Carnegie Endowment for Peace held a seminar A Russian-US Boost-Phase Defense Against Rogue State ICBMs with principle speakers Mr. Richard Garwin, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Prof. Theodore Postol, MIT Security Studies Program.

Press continues to comment the U.S. Senate's decision to reject the CTBT:

Publication of the draft new military doctrine created a heated debate on Russian nuclear policy:

Electronic version of the July-August issue of Arms Control Today is now available on-line. Papers published include: Historical Column: On preparations of the Soviet Union to deploy R-12 (SS-4) medium range missiles in the German Democratic Republic: Time To Begin Just Did Not Come, - in Russian, (by Alexander Dolinin, Krasnaya Zvezda, October 16, 1999, p. 2)

October 14, 1999
The U.S. Senate Wednesday evening rejected ratification of the CTBT on a mainly party-line vote. This is a major defeat of nuclear non-proliferation and arms control regime.

October 10, 1999
Our recent press-release On U.S.-Russian Discussions On ABM Treaty Modification, (in Russian) has been published in Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye weekly newspaper (N 39, October 8-14, 1999, p. 6). See also:

The non-proliferation regime is in danger. Acknowledging that he lacks the votes to approve a treaty banning nuclear testing, President Clinton pleaded with Senate leaders on Friday to delay action. But he refused to give in to a Republican demand that he withdraw the treaty, and thus concede that it will not be enacted while he is in the White House. The latest news and details on CTBT debates in the United States can be found at the web site of The Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers. See also:

The Russian government is finalizing a set of documents needed to present a global nuclear test ban treaty for ratification in parliament, Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin said on Thursday (Kremlin Says Wants Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Ratified, by Reuters, Russia Today, October 7, 1999)

In the letter to Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Yeltsin said Russia was making "considerable efforts" for the prompt ratification of START II, which has been stalled in the Russian parliament, according to presidential spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin, (Russia Pushing for START II Treaty, by Nick Wadhams, Associated Press, Friday, Oct. 8, 1999; 12:02 p.m. EDT).

As well as the current military doctrine the draft of the new document notes that "the Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear or other mass destruction weapons against it or its allies and also in response to large-scale aggression involving conventional arms in situations critical for the national security of Russia and its allies. Colonel-General Valeri Manilov, the First Deputy Chief Of General Staff, discusses the main provisions of the new doctrine in an interview to Krasnaya Zvezda: New Military Doctrine - An Adequate Answer To Current Challenges, - in Russian, (by Oleg Falichev, Krasnaya Zvezda, October 8, 1999, p. 1). See also a paper of Nikolai Mikhailov, Professor Of Academy Of Military Sciences At The Threshold Of XXI-st Century Challenges, - in Russian, (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 39, October 8-14, 1999, p. 1,4).

Current status and future of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces - in the following press reports:

Colonel-General Viktor Smirnov, Deputy Chief Of Staff Of the Strategic Rocket Forces, describes current state of the Russian Early Warning System (EWS): Does Russia Have Eyes At Space?, - in Russian, (by Ilshat Baichurin and Alexandr Dolinin, Krasnaya Zvezda, October 8, 1999). See also our special section on Russian EWS.

The joint programs of the U.S. DoE and Russian Minatom raise questions both in the U.S. and Russia:

October 4, 1999
Paul Podvig's comment: On Modification Of the ABM Treaty, - in Russian, October 4, 1999

The test interceptor successfully hit the target about 140 miles above the central Pacific Ocean Saturday night. The test involved higher altitudes and missile speeds at least three times faster than earlier intercepts this year by two Army prototypes -- the Patriot 3 and the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD (Anti-Missile Test Marks a Measured Step Interceptor's Reliability Still in Question, by Bradley Graham, The Washington Post, Monday, October 4, 1999; Page A01).

Senate leaders agreed to begin debate next Friday on a landmark treaty banning nuclear testing. The Senate majority leader, Trent Lott, R-Miss., and his Democratic counterpart, Thomas Daschle of South Dakota, agreed to begin 14 hours of general debate on Oct. 8 and resume on Oct. 12, with a vote taking place that day or soon thereafter. Lott had originally offered to start the debate on Oct. 6, but Democrats balked. Senate Republicans expressed confidence Friday that they have more than 40 "hard" votes in their ranks against the treaty, more than the 34 necessary to block ratification of one of President Clinton's top foreign policy goals. (Senate Will Debate Treaty Banning Nuclear Testing, by Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, October 2, 1999).

In a new assessment of its capabilities, the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that it cannot monitor low-level nuclear tests by Russia precisely enough to ensure compliance with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty adding a new argument to the Treaty opponents in the U.S. (CIA Unable To Precisely Track Testing. Analysis of Russian Compliance With Nuclear Treaty Hampered, by Roberto Suro, The Washington Post, Sunday, October 3, 1999; Page A01)

At the talks this weekend in Moscow, the United States Energy Secretary, Bill Richardson, said in an interview that he had proposed several measures to strengthen monitoring under the pact, including visits by American experts to the closed Russian nuclear test site at Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic. Yevgeny O. Adamov, the Minister of Atomic Energy, said in a separate interview that he was willing to open talks on the proposals. But he also insisted that such measures should be part of a package deal that would also include such cooperation as access to American supercomputers in order to help Russia maintain a safe, reliable nuclear arsenal (U.S. and Russia to Seek New Ways to Monitor Nuclear Test Ban Pact, by Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller, The New York Times, October 4, 1999).

Russia test fired ballistic missiles not only from submarines last Friday, but also a one "Topol" ICBM from Plesetsk test site (Rocketeers Verify Reliability Of the Arsenal - in Russian, by Yuri Golotyuk, Izvestiya, October 2, 1999).

The United States strengthen Russian nuclear arsenal by providing financial aid to Russia, The Washington Times stated (Russia's New Plan To Rearm, by Richard Staar, The Washington Times, September 30, 1999, Pg. 19)

October 3, 1999
"...The process of U.S.- Russian discussions on modification of the ABM Treaty of 1972 came to a dangerous line. One can expect total collapse of the whole system of control of nuclear arms created during the last decades, unless nothing is done to change current situation..." (On U.S.-Russian Discussions On ABM Treaty Modification, - in Russian, press release of the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies, October 3, 1999)

October 1, 1999
There are still chances of START II ratification by the new State Duma: an exclusive comment by Pyotr Romashkin (a member of "Yabloko" faction staff in the State Duma): Forthcoming Elections in Russia and START II Ratification (in Russian).

Colonel-General Anatoly Sitnov, Defense Ministry official, said on Tuesday Russia had at the most eight years to replace its aging nuclear arsenal before it becomes obsolete.

Joshua Handler of Princeton University concludes that it is most likely that Russia will be able to maintain only 500-1,700 strategic warheads in its strategic nuclear arsenal during 2008-2013, especially if MIRVed ICBMs remain banned as they are in START II (Russias Nuclear and Strategic Forces in 2008-2013, paper presented at VIII International Castiglioncello Conference "New Challenges in the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction" Castiglioncello (Italy), 23-26 September 1999) - in PDF format. See also Paul Podvig's estimates of the last year.

According to AVN news agency, two Russian submarines, one - in Barents and another - in Okhotsk Sea, fired strategic missiles today. (Versions Of ICBM Disposal, - in Russian, by "AVN" Information Agency, Utro, October 1, 1999)

Experts continue discussing the ways to reduce nuclear arsenals in conditions when the United States prepares to deploy national ballistic missile defense:

Republican presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole said her top priority, if elected, would be development of missile defense systems for the United States and its allies. The Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization this week is slated to conduct the first intercept test in its national missile defense (NMD) program. The launch window opens Saturday, Oct. 2

"...Superiority in the air, and then, the victory will be of our potential enemy at the existing proportions of air forces between the West and Russia. In future, similar situation may occur in the East. At the time being short and medium range missiles are the only weapons capable to radically change such an imbalance...", ("Iskander-E" Attacks Competitors, - in Russian, by Sergei Sokut, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 38, October 1-7, 1999)

In an abrupt but calculated reversal, the Senate majority leader, Trent Lott, offered on Thursday to schedule a quick vote on a treaty banning nuclear testing, expressing confidence that Republicans have the votes to defeat one of President Clinton's top foreign policy goals. Such a step could derail the whole arms control process, (Lott Offers to Hold Hearings on Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, by Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, October 1, 1999). Details on CTBT debates in the United States can be found at the web site of The Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers.

Six of seven crisis ``hot lines'' linking leaders in Washington and Moscow could malfunction because of year-2000 glitches, but fixes are on the way. Edward Warner III, assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction testified, that the 12th Main Directorate, the arm of the Russian Defense Ministry that oversees nuclear stockpiles, has found ``significant shortfalls'' in computers used to monitor security and safety at storage sites (Senate Panel Told Of U.S. Plans To Fix Russian Year-2000 Bug, by Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times, September 29, 1999)

General Accounting Office has published a new report: Nuclear Nonproliferation: Status of Transparency Measures for U.S. Purchase of Russian Highly Enriched Uranium (GAO, September 1999)

Russia has asked the U.S. Energy Department to expand joint projects aimed at securing dangerous materials, including nuclear fuel, that could be turned into weapons, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Wednesday on a visit in Severomorsk, the headquarter of the Russian Northern Fleet:

In the worst accident in Japan's history with nuclear power, an out-of-control chain reaction Thursday at a fuel plant 87 miles northwest of Tokyo spewed high levels of radiation into the air. Thirty-five people were exposed, three of them seriously injured, and 300,000 residents were ordered to stay indoors:

Nuclear explosion took place in the spring of 1971 in Moscow at the territory of current "Kurchatov Institute" Research Center. Nobody of outsiders noticed that accident (Atom Just Pretended To Be Peaceful, - in Russian, by Vladimir Pokrovski, Obschaya Gazeta, September 30 - October 6, 1999).


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Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT, 1999.