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What Was New

on START II and Further Nuclear Arms Reductions page?

June, 1998

June 30, 1998
We are starting to put the summary of the conference The Future of Russian - U.S. Strategic Arms Reductions: START III and Beyond (Cambridge, MA, February 2-6, 1998) on the Web. The conference was jointly sponsored by the M.I.T. Security Studies Program and the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT. Visit this page soon to learn about the progress.

Anton Surikov answers the questions of START II discussion at "Russia and the Outer World" forum. See also the remark of Nikolay Sokov (in Russian).

President Boris Yeltsin will summon his Security Council next Friday to review long-term Russian policy in the area of nuclear deterrence and the development of strategic nuclear weapons, his spokesman said (Security Council to Mull Nuclear Policy, by Reuters, Russia Today, June 29, 1998).

Journalists on START II and a current state of affairs in arms control:

Chairman of the Duma Defense Committee Roman Popkovich and his Deputy Alexei Arbatov on prospects of START II ratification Commander of Strategic Missile Forces on savings due to "Topol-M" ICBM deployment : New Missile Installation to Save Russian Army R470MN (Alexander Konovalov, RIA "Novosti", June 26, 1998).

Problem of limitation of antisubmarine operations near ports should be resolved in a separate U.S. - Russian Treaty similar to ABM Treaty or within the frames of START III (Is the Treaty on Limiting Antisubmarine Operations Necessary?, by V. Danilin, Morskoi Sbornik, N 2, February, 1998, pp. 7-9).

June 22, 1998
Our Center's publication Nuclear Arms Reduction. The Process and Problems is now available in English.

Discussion of START II at "Russia and the Outer World" forum has slowed down. General Vladimir Dvorkin has promised to answer to questions of the participants.

Russian major newspapers on START II

Russian complaints are seen as a pre-emptive measure because of delay in START II ratification The chairman of the International Relations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Bill Clinton urging him to oppose additional funding for Russia. Among other issues, he mentioned the Duma's stalling on START II ratification as a cause for his opposition to continued financial support to Russia (START II delay jeopardizes Russia IMF money, by Thomas Jandl, Bellona news release, June 8, 1998)

June 17, 1998
News from "Russia and the Outer World" forum: Nikolay Sokov, Paul Podvig and Eugene Miasnikov and other participants discuss effectiveness of ABM defense, benefits of START II for the U.S., real and imaginary shortcomings of mobile "Topol" missiles.

START II discussion goes on in public press as well:

The Russian military alleges the United States has violated some provisions of the START I arms reduction treaty. We already mentioned about existence of these problems in Center's recent publication Nuclear Arms Reduction. The Process and Problems (we just started publishing this report in English).

June 13, 1998
Welcome to join a Web-discussion of the START II treaty and problems of its ratification by Russia. The two most respected Russian Parliamentary experts

have posted their articles and will answer to your questions. Discussion is hosted by Rossia i Zagraniza (Russia and the Outer World) forum of "Russki Zhurnal" ("Russian Magazine"). Russian is advised as it's the working language of the discussion.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has deplored the Russian parliament's latest refusal to approve a treaty sharply reducing nuclear weapons, calling the decision a serious setback.

Newspapers continue to comment the Duma's decision to postpone Duma hearings on START II: Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, the Defense Ministry's international relations chief, had recently made clear Russia's reaction would be "extremely tough" if the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The latest issue of The INESAP Information Bulletin (Issue N 15, April 1998) reports: June 11, 1998
Russia's lower house of parliament on Wednesday scrapped plans to hold a hearing on the START II arms reduction treaty next week, dealing a new blow to U.S. and Kremlin hopes that it will soon be ratified. A proposal by ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky to put off the June 16 hearing won the approval of 235 deputies in the opposition-dominated Duma and was opposed by only 39. Zhirinovsky has made clear he wants no hearing before the autumn session. Worth of your attention: Discussions, when the The State Duma rejected the proposal of the Duma Committee for International Affairs on the setting up of a commission to prepare the START-2 Treaty. Excerpts from the Duma hearings on May 13 and May 14 (in Russian)

June 5, 1998
Parliament's lower house decided Thursday to postpone by one week their scheduled hearings on ratifying the long-delayed START II treaty. The State Duma's agenda-setting council decided that the hearings planned for June 9 should be moved to June 16.

Communist Yuri Maslyukov, Chair of the Economical Policy Committee of the State Duma, called the CPRF faction for approving START II Treaty (START II is Given a Chance, NVO-NG, N 21, June 5-18, 1998, p.1)

June 4, 1998
Press agencies report, that Duma hearings on START II will take place on Tuesday, June 9.

June 2, 1998
The first closed-door parliamentary hearings on the ratification of the START II treaty will be held Friday, the speaker of the State Duma said Monday (START II Hearings, The Moscow Times, June 2, 1998). The news appears to be a reversal of a previous decision by the Duma to postpone the hearings until September. See also The world press continues to cover responses on recent nuclear tests in Pakistan (see Coalition's "Special Section on Indian and Pakistani Nuclear Testing and the Test Ban", India Pakistan Nuclear Crisis - Special Report at FAS web-site, and Global Beat of New York University.

To break the dangerous dynamic the United States, Russia and the other charter members of the nuclear club must make it more credible that they really intend to put the club out of business (The Alternative to Nuclear Tests, by Zia Mian and Frank von Hippel, The Washington Post, Sunday, May 31, 1998; Page C07) 

May, 1998

May 28, 1998
Pakistan conducted five nuclear tests today.

Alexei Arbatov and Vladimir Lukin on prospects of START II Ratification:

Kiriyenko told Russian news agencies on his return from the secret nuclear research city of Sarov, long known as Arzamas-16, that the government would approve a special development plan for atomic weapons next month. May 22, 1998
The View of Strategic Missile Forces Commander on Future of Russian Strategic Forces and Opponents on START II Ratification May 20, 1998
The Duma is expected to hold hearings on START-2 in early June, but no date has been set for ratification debates. Reportedly, Yeltsin's Communist opponents want them to take place in autumn at the earliest. In Birmingham President Yeltsin repeated a promise he has been making since 1993 that the Duma will quickly pass START II and announced that President Clinton would visit Moscow in July to open talks on START III. However, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott indicated a Clinton visit won't happen until the Duma votes. It is not easy to channel a discussion on a constructive road. More arguments for and against the treaty: May 15, 1998
World press continues commenting reaction on nuclear explosions in India. On Wednesday, a second series of nuclear tests was conducted. See details on Web sites of Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers, Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and Global Beat of New York University,

START II ratification remains in the spring session's agenda of the State Duma.

A paper "Combat Duty on Nuclear Kegs" -in Russian (by Alexey Tarasov Izvestiya, May 12, 1998) draws attention to pure state of Russian liquid fuel SLBMs and missiles' production base. See also yesterday's The Washington Post (Russia Is Warned Of Missile Menace Corroding Submarine-Based Weapons Threaten Nuclear Disaster, Expert Says, By David Hoffman, The Washington Post, Thursday, May 14, 1998; Page A25)

In April's issue of Nuclear Security, (N 11-12):

Recent Yaderny Control (N 2, March-April, 1998) presents: May 12, 1998
India has conducted three nuclear tests yesterday. There is no doubt, that this event will make a strong impact on the character of nuclear disarmament process in the world. The press coverage, official statements and experts' opinions can be found at Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers special site.

Two stories have been covered broadly by western media sources last two weeks.

The first one is presentation by Samuel R. Berger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, at Georgetown University. In particular, he said, that "...there is no reason to believe that Russian political and military leaders will agree to sharply reduce strategic nuclear missiles in the absence of the ABM Treaty's constraints on defenses against those missiles..."(Remarks to the Annual Washington Forum of Business Executives for National Security by Samuel R. Berger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Georgetown University - May 5, 1998). See also press stories:

The second - publication by established U.S. experts Accidental Nuclear War -- A Post-Cold War Assessment (by Lachlan Forrow, Bruce G. Blair, Ira Helfand, George Lewis, Theodore Postol, Victor Sidel, Barry S. Levy, Herbert Abrams and Christine Cassel) in The New England Journal of Medicine (April 30, 1998). The authors have chosen to analyze a scenario of the launch against the United States of the weapons on board a Russian Delta-IV ballistic-missile submarine, since they believe, that the safeguards against the unauthorized launch of Russian submarine-based missiles are weaker than those against either silo-based or mobile land-based rockets. See also: After a delay of several years, prospects for Russian passage of START II treaty remain as murky as ever. Some Russia experts believe START II passage is even less likely after the NATO vote and after Yeltsin had to expend vast political capital in parliament to install a new prime minister, 35-year-old Sergei Kiriyenko. (After NATO Vote, Doubts on U.S.-Russia Rapport Key Relationship Strained by Other Differences as Clinton Has Focused Elsewhere, by John F. Harris, The Washington Post, Monday, May 4, 1998; Page A16).

On prospects of START II ratification see also:

In our comment on collision of two U.S. submarines, we have already mentioned about an incident that occurred last December in the Barents Sea as the Russian navy was destroying ballistic missiles under the START I treaty. Recently The Washington Post reported about the incident (Moscow Files Complaint With U.S. Over Sub Incident, The Washington Post, Tuesday, May 5, 1998; Page A16). Unfortunately, the article contains some inaccuracies. The story will be continued.

President Clinton submitted to Congress a report on the U.S. approach to implementing the Helsinki Joint Statement, as required by the Fiscal Year 1998 Defense Department Authorization Act Conference Report (On US approach to implementing Helsinki Joint Statement, Presidents Report on Helsinki Joint Statement, April 23, 1998).

CBO estimates budgetary impacts of various scenarios for strategic forces as a result of implementation of START II and START III (Estimated Budgetary Impacts of Alternative Levels of Strategic Forces, a letter by the Congressional Budget Office to Senator Thomas A. Daschle, March 18, 1998).

What Was New?

In 1998: January | February | March | April
In 1997: November | December

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