What was new on START Web site?
June 24, 1999
The State Duma approved the second and third drafts of the law "On Financing The State Defense Order For The Strategic Nuclear Forces Of The Russian Federation". The details - in a comment by Pyotr Romashkin (the staff of "Yabloko" faction in the State Duma) exclusively for the START Web Site (in Russian).
A seminar entitled "New Approaches Toward Control Of Offensive and Defensive Strategic Arms" was held yesterday at the Carnegie Endowment in Moscow. The panelists included Alexei Arbatov, Deputy Chair Of Defense Committee in The State Duma; Joseph Cirincione, Director Of Nuclear Non-proliferation Program Carnegie Endowment; Viktor Koltunov, International Treaties Division, International Military Cooperation Directorate, Russian MoD; Sergei Rogov, Director Of The U.S. And Canada Institute. Participants of the meeting expressed a common concern on the current state of affairs in U.S.-Russian relations on nuclear disarmament. They were rather pessimistic about possible breakthroughs in further nuclear reductions until new administrations come to power in both countries.
Press reports create an impression that Russian officials do not have a common view on expediency of discussions of ABM Treaty amendments with the U.S. side. In particular, Itar-Tass news agency quoted Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov as saying: "(Such changes) are dangerous and could destroy the basis of strategic stability and the whole disarmament process". On the other hand, press media emphasize a possibility of START II ratification this fall, as indicated by recent interviews of Igor Ivanov and Gennadi Seleznyov, the Speaker Of the State Duma. Cologne agreements on strategic offensive and defensive arms are also criticised by Republicans in the U.S., who perceive this step as "...an attempt of Clinton administration to use the pretext of these discussions further to fend off deployment of effective missile defenses by the United States anytime soon..."
Today at the START Forum (in Russian): counter-force capability of precision guided munitions and other issues.
- Russia Still Sees ABM Changes As Dangerous, (by Reuters, Russia Today, June 23, 1999)
- Clinton, Yeltsin Plan New Talks On Nuclear Arms. U.S. Negotiations Aim to Amend Treaty To Allow Missile Defense Development, (by David Hoffman, The Washington Post, Tuesday, June 22, 1999; Page A10)
- Battle brewing on missile defense, (by Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, June 22, 1999)
- Will Clinton and Yeltsin Succeed in Springing the A.B.M. Treaty Trap?, (The Center for Security Policy, Decision Brief, No. 99-D 72, June 21, 1999)
- Duma to Consider Start-2 Ratification next Autumn, (ITAR-TASS, June 21, 1999)
June 21, 1999
Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin met this weekend in Cologne and discussed, among other matters START II, III and the ABM Treaty. The two leaders have agreed "that they remain committed to START II," including the implementation of the 1997 START II and ABM protocols. Clinton and Yeltsin also "agreed that they will resume discussions on START III and on the ABM Treaty in the fall." According to Berger, "this is very significant because for the first time the Russians have agreed to discuss changes in the ABM Treaty that may be necessitated by a national missile defense system were we [the U.S.] to decide to deploy one." Berger also did hint that the U.S. may be willing to drop its longstanding demand that the Duma ratify START II before START III negotiation begin.
See also the paper START II and The ABM Treaty, by Anatoli Diakov and Pavel Podvig (published on March 19, 1999).
- Joint Statement Between The United States and The Russian Federation Concerning Strategic Offensive And Defensive Arms And Further Strengthening Of Stability, June 20, 1999
- Press Briefing By National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, June 20, 1999
- Russia Eases Resistance to Missile Defense, (by Bill Sammon, The Washington Times, June 21, 1999)
- Helms Faces Off With White House on Missed ABM Treaty Deadline, (by Thomas W. Lippman, The Washington Post, Monday, June 21, 1999; Page A05)
- Yeltsin Mulls Revising Missile Pact, (by Terence Hunt, Associated Press, Sunday, June 20, 1999; 2:33 p.m. EDT)
Officials with the National Missile Defense system again postponed an intercept test flight. The NMD joint program office expects the oft-delayed test will occur in late September (DOD's First National Missile Defense Intercept Attempt Delayed Again, Inside The Pentagon, June 17, p.1).
Yuri Solomonov, the Director and Chief Designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermoengineering discusses the problems related with the U.S. NMD deployment in his interview to Krasnaya Zvezda: We Are Prepared For An Adequate Response (by Dmitri Litovkin, Krasnaya Zvezda, June 19, 1999, p. 4).
The State Duma considers the draft law on financing Russia's strategic forces until 2010:
The issue was also discussed in a comment by Pyotr Romashkin The Draft Law on Financing Russia's Strategic Forces - in Russian, (March 2, 1999)
- Russia Repairs Its Nuclear Shield (by Vladimir Yermolin, Izvestiya, June 17, 1999, p. 2)
- A Subject Of Special Attention. Nuclear Forces Need More Financing (by Alexei Karelov, Vremya MN, June 16, 1999, p. 2)
The Russian race to Kosovo a week ago -- in which 200 paratroops dashed to the Pristina airport to become a major irritant to the West -- has also cast new light on what well informed officials describe as a deepening split at the top of the Russian military. A major underlying reason for the split, military officials said, is the plan Sergeyev launched last year to create a new "unified command" over land, sea and air-based nuclear weapons (Pristina Gambit Reveals Split Among Russian Military Officials, by David Hoffman, The Washington Post, Saturday, June 19, 1999; Page A15 - see also our special section on expediency of integration of Russian strategic forces under a unified command). Some reporters raise new worries about Russia's control over its strategic nuclear warheads (Russians Stir Fear Of Nuclear Instability, by Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, June 15, 1999).
Last Wednesday the United States and Russia concluded an agreement in Washington extending for seven years programs to reduce the threat posed by nuclear, biological, chemical and other weapons of mass destruction:
- U.S. and Russia Extend Deal Reducing Threat From Arms, (by Judith Miller, The New York Times, June 17, 1999)
- New Non-Proliferation Initiative Zeros in on Non-Nuclear Threat, (by Laura Beers, Weekly Defense Monitor, Volume 3, Issue #23, June 17, 1999)
Pentagon intelligence sources said Russia in early April tested a high-altitude weapon that fires off an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, that is similar to bursts caused by nuclear blasts that can shut down everything from cars to computers (Russian ASAT, The Washington Times, June 18, 1999).
A General Accounting Office report tends to cool Pentagon raves about the B-2's performance in the Yugoslavia campaign. The congressional auditing unit cites four significant deficiencies that limit the plane's performance (Study Cites Deficiencies In B-2 Fleet, Los Angeles Daily News, June 15, 1999, p. AV1).
June 11, 1999
Recent test of new Russian Topol-M ICBM demonstrated unprecedented capability of the missile to manoeuvre unpredictably in order to defeat the ABM system of an adversary (But On The Other Hand We Build Missiles. Russian Nuclear Forces Are Fitting Out With "The Terminator", - in Russian, (by Yuri Golotyuk, Izvestiya, June 5, 1999, p. 1). See also comments (in Russian) on the article. -- By the way, THAAD interceptor test ended successfully yesterday. An expensive experimental antimissile missile did today what it had been unable to do on six previous attempts -- hit a flying target (After Six Failures, Test of Antimissile System Succeeds, by Philip Shenon, The New York Times, June 11, 1999).
On April 29, 1999 the Security Council of the Russian Federation held its regular meeting on the issues, relating to Russian nuclear weapons complex and its improvement. The PIR Center experts and some governmental analysts give their view on the results and consequences of this meeting, which got a broad response in the world and became immediately cluttered with numerous rumors and speculations. (Security Council Meeting: What Is Under The Veil Of Secrecy?, PIR Center Arms Control Letter, June 9, 1999).
U.S. Strategic Commander-In-Chief Adm. Richard Mies cautions that proposals to unilaterally reduce America's strategic forces should be carefully considered. Mies said the U.S. is not developing new warheads and delivery systems, and that should be considered as Washington uses strategic disarmament as enticement for Russia to follow suit. (Mies Calls For Caution On Proposals To Unilaterally Cut Strategic Forces, Inside the Pentagon, June 10, 1999).
Russia is to continue plutonium production beyond the year 2000. The three plutonium production reactors in Siberia will not become entirely civilian by the end of this year as the United States and Russia agreed upon earlier. (Russian Pu-stocks to increase, Bellona Press Release, June 3, 1999).
China plans to test a submarine-launched ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 miles this year. (China to test new missile, Birmingham Post England, June 3, 1999).
Today at the START Forum (in Russian): can SLBMs be launched under Arctic ice, precision guided munitions and strategic stability, radiofobia - who benefits, will nuclear doctrines be changed, etc.
June 3, 1999
The U.S. Senate considered the Kerrey amendment to strike the proposed extension of the requirement that the U.S. maintain START I force levels until the Duma ratifies START II. The amendment would simply strike the language in the Committee's version of the Defense Authorization bill. The Senate made the decision not to vote the amendment.
A U.S. and German industry group has developed a proposal for shipping foreign spent fuel to Russia for long-term storage. The proceeds of the venture would be a minimum of $4 billion, coming from nations trying to rid themselves of spent nuclear fuel problems:
- A Radioactive Zone "Russia". The Country Is Converted Into An International Dump Of Deadly Wastes (by Alexei Tarasov, Izvestiya, June 3, 1999, p. 1)
- Duma drafts nuclear imports law, (Bellona Press Release, June 1, 1999)
- Proposal for foreign spent fuel storage in Russia, (Bellona Press Release, May 30, 1999)
Krasnaya Zvezda tells about general Ivan G. Nikolayev - former Chief Оf Main Operational Directorate, the General Staff - and creation of the Soviet strategic command-and-control system (He Was An Ideologist Of The "Nuclear Suitcase"..., by Vitaly Strugovets, June 2, 1999, p. 4).
Current status and future of the U.S. bombers in "Can the classic bomber survive?" (International Defense Review, June 1, 1999)
The May's issue of Yadernaya Bezopasnost is devoted to the problem of limiting missile defenses. In the issue (all papers are in Russian):
- ABM Treaty As A Barometer Of US-Russian Relations, (by Mikhail Nefyodov)
- Unknown War In Space, (by Mikhail Pervov) - on history of the Soviet BMD countermeasures
- ABM Weapons Of The XXI-st Century, (by Vladimir Belous) - on prospects of U.S. NMD
- Russia Is Going To Repeat the "Blind Boxer's" End (by Igor Flore) - on current status of Russian Early Warning System - see also our special section on EWS
- Russia: Options For An Answer, (by Dmitri Safronov)
- Is The UK Sincere?, (by Gennadi Obolenski)
Today at the START Forum (in Russian): on Kerrey amendment, radiometry detection of strategic delivery systems, yield of nuclear weapons, U.S. goals in the conflict with Yugoslavia, and other issues.
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© Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT, 1999.