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Nuclear News - 02/08/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 8 February, 1999

  1. Start-II on Hold Until Funding For Nuclear Forces Allocated, RFE/RLNewsline (02/05/99)
  2. Russia's Inaction On Rogue Nuclear Technology Threatens U.S. LaunchDeal, Gannett News Service (02/05/99)
  3. 40,000 Warheads, Washington Post (02/06/99)
  4. Funding Sought as Deactivation of Some U.S. Missiles Is Delayed,Washington Post (02/07/99)
  5. U.S. Warns Russia It Could Cut Aid over Syria Deal Reuters(02/08/99)

Start-II on Hold Until Funding For Nuclear Forces Allocated
RFE/RL Newsline
February 5, 1999
(for personal use only)

In an interview with the military newspaper "Krasnaya zvezda"on 2 February, State Duma Defense Committee Chairman RomanPopkovich of Our Home Is Russia said that the Duma must firstadopt the law on financing Russia's strategic nuclear forcesuntil 2010 before it can turn to the issue of ratification ofthe START II treaty. Popkovich admitted that if the Duma wereto ratify the treaty, there would be no money in the 1999budget for implementation and probably none would beavailable for "the next two or three years." Popkovich addedthat Russia is already "spending too much on the liquidationof armaments under previous agreements and treaties."
Russia's Inaction On Rogue Nuclear Technology Threatens U.S. LaunchDeal
John Omicinski
Gannett News Service
February 5, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON - Growing impatient with Moscow's lack of action to stopnuclear technology transfers to Iran and other rogue states, U.S.officials are threatening to end Russia's lucrative launches of U.S.commercial satellites.

''We need to send a strong signal,'' said Stephen Sestanovich, specialU.S. envoy to the former Soviet states. Each satellite launch lost wouldpenalize Russia's collapsing economy by $100 million, he said.

''We want public enforcement,'' he said, something the Russians haven'tbeen willing to carry out.

Sestanovich said it was an ''open question'' as to whether the Russiangovernment actually had the willingness to police the situation. Hedescribed Russian officials as ''convincingly nervous'' about the stateof the country's nuclear security.

Cutting off space cooperation, he said, is being seriously considered asa way of waking up the Russians to a serious matter.

Sestanovich said the United States has been pressing Russia to no availfor ''prosecutions, fines, and arrests'' of people who are helping Iranand other states develop either nuclear or missile technology.

Russian organized crime doesn't appear to be involved in the technologytransfers, said Sestanovich.

''Bureaucrats and scientists are the core of the problem ... TheIranians are offering enormous sums and really cushy conditions,'' hesaid, making it very attractive for the poorly paid or unpaid Russianexperts.

Cutting off the satellite launches, he said, may be the best way toregister Washington's impatience and frustration. Russia will run outits quota of 16 launches at midyear, he said, and so far Washington hasapproved no more.

Sestanovich told a group of defense reporters that Iran is trying todevelop the expertise to maintain a full-fledged nuclear arsenal, andnot just a few nuclear-tipped missiles.
40,000 Warheads
Pavel Podvig
Washington Post
February 6, 1999
(for personal use only)

I am concerned that the way I was quoted in the Jan. 22 news story"Russia Says Start II Is Imperiled" may have left The Post's readerswith the misimpression that Russia will have to reduce its nucleararsenal regardless of whether START II is ratified, as many in theUnited States seem to believe. In fact, without START II Russia willhave an option of keeping a strategic arsenal significantly larger than1,000 to 1,500 warheads.

Russia has serious financial constraints, but without START II Russiawill extend the lifetimes of about 60 newer SS-18 missiles with multiplewarheads rather than destroy them. Production of a new multiple-warheadmissile, based on the SS-24 technology, although expensive, is alsopossible. It's true that Russia now has no such plans, because it ishoping for a limit of 1,000 to 1,500 warheads under START III and plansaccordingly.

But if the United States persists in dismantling the ABM Treaty andSTART II and III do not take effect, in 10 years Russia could insteadhave an arsenal of some 40,000 warheads, a large portion of which wouldbe deployed on MIRVed silo-based missiles. That's a high price to payfor a U.S. national missile defense system.
Funding Sought as Deactivation of Some U.S. Missiles IsDelayed
Walter Pincus
Washington Post
February 7, 1999
(for personal use only)

The Clinton administration has added $50 million to the fiscal 2000Pentagon budget to keep in operation for at least another year 50 MXintercontinental ballistic missiles that were scheduled to bedeactivated had Russia ratified the START II arms control treaty,according to administration sources.

The decision to keep the 10-warhead missiles in operation was made inpart to maintain the U.S. nuclear warhead count as the administrationmoves to decommission the four oldest Trident strategic ballisticmissile submarines starting in 2002. That will leave in service 14 ofthe giant nuclear submarines, each of which carries 24 ICBMs with fiveor more warheads.

The Trident decommissioning, which was originally timed to coincide withexpected Moscow ratification this year of START II, had been in somedoubt because of a congressional prohibition against reductions of theU.S. nuclear arsenal until the Russian parliament took positive actionon the 1993 treaty.

A major reason for taking the Tridents out of service is the cost ofkeeping them going. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen told Congresslast week that it would cost "some 5 or 6 billion dollars" to refuel thenuclear reactors of the four older Tridents as well as modify them tocarry newer Trident II missiles.

In his testimony, Cohen said that despite the Trident reductions, theadministration was going to "continue to insist that Russia ratify STARTII. I think if we have a ratification process which we abide by and theydon't, then that undercuts the validity of having a process to beginwith. So I think it's important that the Duma ratifies START II so thatwe can move on to START III."

Although the Russian parliament has refused to ratify START II, whichwould force the United States to make deep reductions, Moscow has beenunable to afford to keep its strategic nuclear bombers, submarines andland-based ICBMs at START I levels.

At the Helsinki summit in March 1997, President Clinton and RussianPresident Boris Yeltsin agreed that once START II was ratified the twosides would immediately begin to deactivate the U.S. 10-warhead MX andRussia's 10-warhead SS-18.

In a related matter, national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Bergertold Congress Thursday that he would recommend the president vetoRepublican-sponsored legislation that would mandate deploying a nationalsystem to shoot down enemy missiles based solely on a determination thatthe system was "technically possible."

Berger said that although the administration had decided to set aside$10.5 billion to deploy a limited missile defense system, the plannedJune 2000 decision to go ahead would be based on several factors, ofwhich technological feasibility would be only one.
U.S. Warns Russia It Could Cut Aid over Syria Deal
February 8, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- The United States has warned Russia it could lose $50million in aid because of a deal to sell anti-tank weapons to Syria, theState Department said on Friday.

The message was passed by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright whenshe met in Moscow last week with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, anofficial said.

"Our concern about Russian arms sales to Syria were raised during thesecretary's visit to Moscow," he said.

The official noted that U.S. law requires that certain assistance bewithheld from governments that provide arms to states on the U.S. listof countries accused of sponsoring state terrorism.

Syria has been on the list, which is issued annually, for some time.

"We are considering whether a sanctions determination (against Russia)is warranted under current circumstances," the official.

He said about $50 million worth of U.S. assistance is at stake. But also allows for a waiver of the sanction if U.S. officials determineproviding continued aid to Russia is in the U.S. national interest.

U.S. President Bill Clinton has requested more than $300 million forRussia in the year 2000 budget he just sent to Congress.

Sale of Arms to Syria is just the latest dispute between Washington andMoscow over cash-hungry Russia's efforts to find markets for itstechnologies around the world.

The two countries have a major disagreement over Russian cooperationwith Iran's missile and nuclear programs. The United States last monthimposed sanctions on three Russian institutes for helping Iran, whichWashington views as a rogue state bent on sponsoring terrorism andacquiring nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

It has also said it may freeze the number of American satellites thatcan be launched using Russian rockets once a quota of 16 is met laterthis year, a move that could cost Moscow billions of dollars in lostrevenue.

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