What was new on STAR Site?

January, 2003

January 29, 2003
"...Calm reaction of Russian President Vladimir Putin on U.S. decision to abandon the ABM Treaty of 1972 and signing SORT Treaty by him were unlikely motivated by new understanding the essence of nuclear deterrence in Valery Yarynich's interpretation. In new military and political situation, due to development of multi-echelone BMD by the US and offensive weapons reductions, these steps seem caused by the fact that one can ensure guaranteed adequacy of nuclear deterrence and state security within the frames of the SORT Treaty and at the same time not to rely upon a sense of an adversary only. The point is that in order to achieve this goal certain expenses to improve our strategic forces are required, which could have been avoided, if the U.S. remained within the frames of the 1972 ABM Treaty..." (Opinion: On Strategic Offence - Strategic Defense Problem, - in Russian, by Emid Ashratov, January 29, 2003; the author is Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, participant of negotiations on START Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union).

ommittees of the State Duma continue their work on the text of the draft federal law on ratification of the SORT treaty. Russian MFA press release expressed the conviction that the necessary prerequisites are there for the ratification of the treaty this spring (Russian MFA Press Release On Meeting of Working Group of State Duma of the Federal Assembly on Preparation of Draft Federal Law on Ratification of the SOR Treaty, January 21, 2003).

"...The new concept (of the development of Strategic Nuclear Forces -- E.M.) is in fact a temporary one. Its political meaning is to postpone the final decision on the prospects of SNF by ten years. After that, Russia in its relations with the West will have to shift to symbolic deterrence similar to the one employed by France and UK (more likely by inertia, than because of the real need), or, if the will and capability are there, to start rapid building of qualitatively new and very expensive SNF..."(Moving in a Nuclear Circle, - in Russian, by Sergey Sokut, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, January 24, 2003). See also today's interview with Commander of Strategic Rocket Forces Colonel-General Nikolay Solovtsov (Our "Satan" Will Be On Duty Longer, - in Russian, by Oleg Falichev, Krasnaya Zvezda, January 29, 2003) and our special section Current Status and Future of Russian Strategic Forces

In 2002, technical capabilities of the Russian ABM system increased due to putting into operation of two facilities, which are unique by their capabilities: "Volga" radar station in Baranovichi (Byelorussia) and "Okno" optoelectronic system in Nurek (Tajikistan): 30 Years Not a Limit, - in Russian, (by Dmitriy Litovkin, Izvestia, January 22, 2003)

Russian President Vladimir Putin Receives Susan Eisenhower and Dr. Roald Sagdeev

Russian President Vladimir Putin does not exclude the possibility of Russian-US joint work on missile defenses. He made this statement at his meeting with Dr. Roald Sagdeev and Eisenhower Institute President Susan Eisenhower:

Two Tomahawk missiles were successfully launched from a missile tube of USS Florida ballistic missile submarine (which is planned for conversion from SSBN to SSGN along with three other Ohio-class subs), in demonstration and validation (DEMVAL) tests in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of western Florida. The test was followed by Giant Shadow experimental anti-terrorist exercises that involve clandestine debarkation of Navy SEALs from the USS Florida.

Last week, Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies released a four-volume assessment of global efforts to secure former Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In particular, experts from the US, EU, Russia and Japan suggest that Russia doubles the amount of low-enriched uranium exported under "Megatons to Megawatts" program in a year. Minatom officials question advisability of this step:

Reports by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei were submitted in the UNSC on Monday. They concerned the four dossiers: nuclear, chemical, biological and missile ones. Russian MFA expressed a hope that UNMOVIC and IAEA experts will continue effective work. President Bush declared last night in his annual State of the Union message that Saddam Hussein had missed his "final chance" by showing contempt for U.N. weapons inspections:

ElBaradei Reports to the UN

See also most recent media comments on the Iraq situation:

As long as Iraq is contained and UN weapons inspections continue unfettered there is no justification for a US-led invasion, according report by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released last week.

The United States is contemplating using nuclear weapons in a potential conflict with Iraq, the nuclear option is being considered to destroy deeply buried Iraqi targets that might be impervious to conventional weapons, according to analyst William Arkin writing in the Los Angeles Times:

North Korea has insisted that only talks with the United States can solve a nuclear standoff and rejected involving other countries:

"...A Hollywood thriller happened in Kyrgyzstan: six gunmen in camouflage and black masks stormed into territory of chemical and metallurgical complex in Orlovka, and neutralized security guards in seconds. Happy end was not to follow since the men took with them 23 cases containing almost 500 kg of europium oxide -- a strategic material used to manufacture rods for nuclear reactors at nuclear power plants..." (Atomic Bomb Being Made by... Terrorists, - in Russian, by Georgy Zotov, Argumenty i Fakty, January 22, 2003)

January 21, 2003
The first this year meeting of the State Duma Defence Committee created a sensation. The committee recommended State Duma to decline the draft bill on ratification of the U.S.-Russia Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty introduced by president Putin. "...It is unclear what has motivated the decision of the Duma members", - Eugene Miasnikov, the Editor of the STAR site, said in an interview to Izvestia: "...I doubt, that this is a serious strategic game, more likely - just tactical maneuvers..." (ABC of Instrument of Ratification, - in Russian, by Dmitri Litovkin, Izvestiya, January 21, 2003). See also:

and our special section on Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions. Status, Comments, Expert Opinions

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that Moscow has received with satisfaction news of the signing of a waiver on January 14 by US President George W. Bush that permits Congress to release funds under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (known as the "Nunn-Lugar Program") for 2003:

Don-2N Radar

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov visited Don-2N radar located in Sofrino near Moscow and made some sensational statements. He said that Russia will develop missile defense systems. Speaking on possible US-Russian cooperation on missile defenses, he stressed that "...such cooperation is theoretically possible if it does not threaten our national interests...", it "...must be built on a legal basis, and missile defense systems must not be aimed against each other..." In his comments of the Russian Minister's statement, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that "the Russians look at the world, just like we do, and they see countries that are developing longer-range ballistic missiles. They see the proliferation of chemical and biological and nuclear capabilities to countries that it is extremely worrisome that they have them":

Russian MFA expressed concerns over Britain's consent for the US to use the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station located in its territory on Fylingdales Moor in the structure of a global missile defense:

Recent issue of Arms Control Today (January-February, 2003) runs:

Siegfried Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory believes that the United States may have no choice but to restart nuclear testing soon: Nuclear Testing May Need to Resume Soon, Official Says, (by Bryan Bender, Global Security Newswire, Friday, January 17, 2003)

Russian MFA stated that "...the worn-out 'concerns' noted in a recent CIA report "...over the alleged leaks from Russia of sensitive technologies... are totally groundless: Russian MFA Press Release Regarding CIA Report On Nonproliferation Problems, January 15, 2003)

January 16, the first meeting of the Russian-Pakistani Consultative Group for Strategic Stability took place in Moscow:

Losyukov Meets with North Korean Officials

International community keeps trying to resolve the North Korean crisis by diplomatic means. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov met on Monday with Northern leader Kim Jong Il. US media reported that SVR, Russian intelligence agency, conducted a clandestine operation together with CIA against North Korea in 1990's.

American experts are concerned about possible ties between al Qaeda and North Korea: North Korea Weapons A 'Nuclear Nightmare', (by Michele Lerner, The Washington Times, January 17, 2003)

The US intensifies pressure on the top two UN arms inspectors. Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei were firm that it is unnecessary to use force against Iraq.

According to a Financial Times article, Russian MFA confused international community by blaming Israeli media for publication of allegedly false information on Moscow's plans to build two nuclear power plants in Syria:

U.S. officials and private experts are increasingly concerned that Iran could acquire nuclear arsenal: U.S. Seeking to Avoid a Third Nuclear Confrontation, (by Bryan Bender, Global Security Newswire, Wednesday, January 15, 2003)

Nuclear powers expressed support for creation of a Central Asian weapon-free zone: Central Asian Treaty Talks Planned for March, (by Mike Nartker, Global Security Newswire, Wednesday, January 15, 2003)

In January, 2003 issue of Bulleten po Atomnoi Energii (Bulletin on Atomic Energy) (PDF file, in Russian):

Several villages in Altaiski Krai suffered from rocket fuel: But Then We Build Missiles, - in Russian, (by Maria Zolotaikina, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 20, 2003)

Minatom launched web site of its Situation Crisis Center. The site's goal is to inform the public on current state, problems and prospects of atomic industry in a timely manner: Minatom Maps are Uncovered, - in Russian, (Izvestia, January 20, 2003)

January 14, 2003
Transcript of a lecture on Soviet (Russian)-US Arms Control Agreements by Dr. Viktor Koltunov, Maj.-Gen. (Ret.), former negotiator of the INF and START Treaties, is now available on-line (in Russian). The lecture was given on October 25, 2002 at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology within Non-proliferation and Reduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction Regime and National Security course offered by our Center.

"...However, how many of these damned warhead should one have to ensure sufficient retaliation under any conditions? This question is been asked for several decades, and finally the expert community acknowledged the impossibility to define the notion of "unacceptable damage"..." (Opinion: Probability, That Deters, - in Russian, by Valery Yarynich, January 9, 2003) - a comment to Sergey Kreidin's article Anti-Missile Fallacies, - in Russian, (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, July 26, 2002)

Strategic Rocket Forces plan to launch at least five ICBMs in 2003: Rocketeers to Test Themselves, - in Russian, (ITAR-TASS, Vremya MN, January 9, 2003)

The Government of the Russian Federation has taken a decision on the steady financing of the projects under G8 Global Partnership agreement against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. In 2003, the allocation of more than 204 million US dollars is envisaged for top-priority projects, within the next ten years it will amount to at least 2 billion US dollars: Alexander Yakovenko, the Official Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers Russian Media Questions About the G8 Global Partnership Agreement Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, Reached at Kananaskis, January 10, 2003.

. In his interview with Moskovskiy Komsomolets Col. Gen. Yuriy Baluyevskiy, First Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff called upon maximum efforts to be taken for ratification of the SORT treaty: General's Horoscope, - in Russian, (by Yulia Kalinina, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, January 9, 2003). See also Col. Baluyevskiy's interview published in a recent issue of PIR-Center's Yaderny Control Digest (a PDF file).

This issue of Yaderny Kontrol Digest (winter-spring 2003) also runs:

US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow said that there are no limits for cooperation between the two countries on missile defenses, and that the US is seriously eager to do it (Vershbow: Year 2002 Was a Successful one for US-Russian Relations, - in Russian, Interfax, January 8, 2003). Russia expects that this statement will help speed up a favorable American response to the draft proposed by the Russian side of a new political ABM agreement.

The costs of a layered US national missile defense system could reach up to $1.2 trillion, according to a recent report by U.S. NGOs (PDF). Another study, published by CBO concludes that, National Missile Defense costs, however, could jump by as much as 40% from projected figures:

A Missile Defense Agency official said that the Agency is planning to skip the next two scheduled flight tests of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptor, and will not attempt any test interceptions until this autumn: Pentagon Plans No Intercept Testing Until Autumn, (by David Ruppe, Global Security Newswire, Monday, January 7, 2003)

Opponents of the US withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty in the Congress keep trying to contest president Bush's decision in court: House Democrat May Appeal Lawsuit Dismissal, (Global Security Newswire, Thursday, January 9, 2003)

President George Bush, hijacked by hardliners in his administration, is setting the world on a course towards nuclear disaster, the 1995 Nobel peace laureate, Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat said last week:

Among the articles published in the recent issue of Disarmament Diplomacy (December-January 2002/2003):

Public Demonstrations in North Korea

North Korea withdrew from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and threatened international community to revise its moratorium on ballistic missile tests. The US tries to find a diplomatic solution to this crisis with mediation by South Korea, Japan and Russia. Russian MFA announced that the basic elements of the package solution are already beginning to emerge.

Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) speaking before the UN Security Council stated that so far UNMOVIC did not reveal any substantial violations of the UN resolutions by Iraq:

The CIA released unclassified version of its latest assessment of global WMD acquisition efforts that threaten the US:

Iran's Nuclear Program

US defence officials say they have concluded that Russia has supplied Iran with equipment and expertise to build two facilities that American intelligence agencies allege are part of a nuclear weapons programme: US Intelligence Says Russia Helping Iran in Nuclear Arms Effort, (by Charles Digges, Bellona, January 7, 2003)

Thursday, India tested a variant of Agni-1 ballistic missile. Wednesday, Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf attended delivery ceremony of a new medium-range Ghauri (Hatf-5) nuclear-capable ballistic missile:

Roberto Amaral, the newly appointed minister of science and technology of Brazil, said his country should acquire the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon. The statement contradicts Brazil's international obligations: Brazil Needs A-Bomb Ability, Aide Says, Setting Off Furor, (by Larry Rohter, The New York Times, January 9, 2003)

Media stresses the necessity to give more attention to security of nuclear objects, which can be targeted by terrorist attacks:

Mayak Plant (Ozersk, Chelyabinsk Oblast), that reprocesses spent nuclear fuel lost its license for operation. All parts of the reprocessing facility are stopped now:

Bellona believes that the MOX approach and imports of spent nuclear fuel have the potential to turn Russia into a nuclear dumping ground: Mixed Oxide Fuel: Revitalizing the Reprocessing Industry, (by Zackary Moss, Bellona, January 7, 2003)

Sunday was 100th anniversary of Academician I.V. Kurchatov, the head of the Soviet nuclear program: Main Author of Parity, - in Russian, (by Anatoli Dokuchayev, Krasnaya Zvezda, January 11, 2003)

January 5, 2003
On the eve of the New Year Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov, who oversees strategic stability issues, commented Ministry's policy on the most topical problems: There Should Be No Provoking an Arms Race, (by Katerina Labetskaya, Vremya Novostei, December 24, 2002)

Taman Missile Division (located in Tatischevo, Saratov Oblast) carries out intensive work to prepare entry into combat duty of the fourth regiment armed by Topol-M ICBM in 2003: December-Tested "Topols", - in Russian, (by Alexandr Dolinin, Krasnaya Zvezda, December 26, 2002)

Alexander Yakovenko, the Official Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the US and NATO countries upon cooperation in the field of a stabilizing theater missile defense both on a bilateral and on a multilateral basis, which should be carried out with due consideration for the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and should not be directed against any third countries (Alexander Yakovenko, the Official Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers Russian Media Question Regarding Drawing Other Countries into US Efforts for the Establishment of a Global Missile Defense System, December 24, 2002)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is looking into accusations that its premier laboratory lied to cover up serious problems with the technology at the heart of the administration's proposed antimissile defense system. The university was prodded to act by Theodore A. Postol, a tenured MIT physicist in security studies and a prominent critic of the antimissile plan:

See also: Missile Plan Faces Obstacles, (by Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2002), and STAR Site's special section Criticism of Missile Defense Programs (in Russian).

A US federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by 32 lawmakers who wanted to stop President Bush's withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The judge ruled that the lawmakers lacked standing to bring the case, and that the withdrawal from the treaty was a political matter, not judicial:

US allies do not unambiguously support Bush administration's decision to step up deployment of missile defenses. Greenland officials believe that US compensation for the operation of American early warning radar at Thule in northwest Greenland are far from adequate:

January issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists describes the history of B-61 nuclear bombs and its modifications: The B61 Family of Bombs, (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Volume 59, No. 1, January-February, 2003)

After North Korea began restarting its plutonium reactor, expelled the IAEA inspectors, and signaled it may quit the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the US, South Korea and Russia make steps towards diplomatic solution of the growing crisis:

According to a recent RAND Report, the threat of acquisition of nuclear weapons by Persian Gulf countries grows:

According to Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev, who visited Iran in the end of December, Tehran and Moscow did not sign an agreement on a plan to return spent fuel to Russia. Rumyantsev said he hopes an agreement will be signed within a month:

India had set up a nuclear weapons command system headed by the prime minister: India Establishes a Nuclear Command System, (by Reuters, January 5, 2003)

In the recent issue of Yaderny Control (November-December, 2002):

US nuclear power plant structures that house radioactive materials, such as reactor containment buildings and spent-fuel storage sites, could withstand a terrorist attack involving a hijacked commercial airliner, according to a study released in December by the Nuclear Energy Institute. Independent experts criticized the study for being designed to confirm conclusions predetermined by the nuclear industry:

Recently declassified documents show that President Nixon ordered US forces into a posture for nuclear conflict in 1969 in a bluff that he hoped would scare the USSR into forcing concessions from North Vietnam:

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