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Nuclear News - 07/07/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 7 July, 1999

1. Yeltsin Urges START II Ratification, Associated Press (07/02/99)

B. Russian Military
1. Russia Tries To Save Military, Associated Press (07/02/99)

C. Gore-Chernomyrdim Commission (GCC)
1. Gore, Stepashin To Meet In Washington On July 27, Reuters(07/07/99)
2. Russian Prime Minister to Visit D.C, Associated Press (07/06/99)

D. U.S. - Russia General
1. Activists drum up support for Senate vote on test ban treaty,Associated Press (07/06/99)
Yeltsin Urges START II Ratification
Associated Press
July 2, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) - President Boris Yeltsin urged the Russian parliament onFriday to approve the long-delayed START II nuclear arms reductiontreaty.

Yeltsin told a meeting of top defense officials that START II must beratified, and a follow-on agreement, START III, must be prepared, theInterfax news agency reported, citing the head of parliament's defensecommittee, Roman Popkovich.

START II, which would cut Russian and American nuclear stocks to amaximum of 3,500 warheads each, has languished in the lower house, theState Duma, since it was signed in 1993. START III would further reducethe number warheads to 2,000.

The speaker of the lower house of Russian parliament, Gennady Seleznyov,recently said the house was likely to consider START II in the fall.

The Duma appeared ready to ratify it earlier this year, but scrappeddebate on the document indefinitely when NATO launched airstrikes onYugoslavia, a Russian ally, on March 24.

Russia played a major role in mediating a peace deal to the Yugoslaviacrisis, and with the alliance bombing campaign now officially over, theDuma appeared to be warming to the idea of ratifying the treaty onceagain.

The top military command supports its ratification, saying the agingwarheads would have to be discarded anyway, and need to be replaced withmore modern weapons.
B. Russian Military
Russia Tries To Save Military
Barry Renfrew
Associated Press
July 2, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) - The appearance of Russian bombers over the Atlantic Oceanfor the first time in years coincides with new efforts by Moscow to stopits once enormous military from disintegrating into a rabble that can'tfight.

With the post-Cold War honeymoon giving way to growing disagreement withthe West, Russia is trying to boost its armed forces after years ofneglect. The effort is likely to be too little, too late.

The government, alarmed about the state of the military, has promised toboost spending on security to 28.5 percent of the budget - $6.7 billion- compared to a proposed U.S. defense budget of $280 billion.

Originally, the government had called for spending $5.1 billion onsecurity, but even that figure appeared to be more than Russia couldafford.

While the appearance of two bombers near Iceland during exercises lastweek alarmed some Western governments, the planes reflected Russia'smilitary decline. They were TU-95 Bears, a 40-year-old propeller planebased on 1950s technology.

Two TU-160 jet bombers also cruised off the coast of Norway - but thefour bombers were apparently all the Russian air force could muster inwhat were billed as the country's biggest defense exercises in years.

More than 30 ships, several nuclear powered submarines, 10,000 troopsand a number of aircraft from Russia's Baltic Fleet also took part inthe exercises.

While Moscow isn't looking for confrontation with the West, it complainsthat it is not treated as an equal. The government's efforts to improvethe military jumped after relations with the West were badly strained byNATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia, a Russian ally.

Russian defense officials paint the following dismal picture of themilitary, which has been cut from 5 million personnel to 1.2 million inthe past decade:

The air force has not received a new plane since 1992 and none areexpected before 2001. The air force is so short of fuel that pilotsaverage 25 hours flying time a year, compared to what is considered aminimum 200 hours in Western air forces.

Seventy percent of navy ships need major repairs. Scores of ships havesunk because their hulls rusted out. Just three nuclear submarines arethought to be on patrol at any one time out of a force that numbered 100vessels a decade ago.

The army, which was defeated by a small guerrilla force in the 1994-96Chechen war, hasn't received any new weapons in years. Alexander Lebed,a top politician and former general, estimates the country has fewerthan 10,000 combat-ready troops.

With its conventional forces crumbling, Russia is relying on its stillenormous nuclear forces. But the aging arsenal of nuclear missiles isfast approaching obsolescence and just a handful of new missiles havebeen built in recent years.

Military forces require constant supplies of new weapons plus regularmaintenance to maintain effectiveness. Russian commanders say theirforces won't get any new weapons before 2005.

The military still takes in tens of thousands of conscripts every year,but they receive only minimal training, often not enough to be effectivein combat. Some officers hire their men out as laborers or make them begon the streets.

Conditions in the ranks are bleak, with soldiers short of food, clothingand other necessities. Crime is rampant, with military prosecutorsreporting that 17 generals and admirals were convicted of corruption in1998.

Bullying and vicious hazing are endemic. Hundreds of soldiers deserteach year, while scores commit suicide. Rampages by disgruntled soldierswho gun down other troops have become commonplace.

In a new twist, the Security Council, which oversees defense, said drugaddiction, once almost unknown, is becoming a major problem in themilitary and could pose a threat to national security.
C. Gore-Chernomyrdim Commission (GCC)
Gore, Stepashin To Meet In Washington On July 27
July 7, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON, Jul 7, 1999 -- (Reuters) U.S. Vice President Al Gore andRussian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin will meet on July 27 in thefirst gathering of a U.S.-Russian commission since the Kosovo conflict,the White House said on Tuesday.

Stepashin, making his first visit to Washington since taking office inMay, was expected to bring his economic team with him and to meet U.S.executives before his Washington talks with Gore, the White House saidin a statement.

The last meeting of the U.S.-Russian Binational Commission was abruptlycalled off in March when Yevgeny Primakov, then Russia's prime minister,turned his aircraft around in mid-air upon learningthat NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia was imminent.

U.S.-Russian ties were badly strained by the Kosovo crisis but have beenreturned to a more normal footing since Belgrade capitulated to NATOlast month, ending the Western alliance's 11-week air campaign.

U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin also metin Cologne on June 20 to patch up relations, which were frayed by theMoscow's bitter opposition to the NATO bombing.
Russian Prime Minister to Visit D.C
Barry Schweid
Associated Press
July 6, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin is due hereat the end of the month for talks with Vice President Al Gore and aclose look at American corporations as Russia sinks deeper into itseconomic doldrums.

The visit July 27 will be Stepashin's first as prime minister and thefirst meeting in a year of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economicand Technological Cooperation.

Ten committees will meet on business development, energy, health,environment, science and technology and other subjects.

Stepashin also is interested in meeting with President Clinton, and thatlikely will be arranged, officials said.

Stepashin, who has talked several times to Gore on the telephone, is dueto bring government economic specialists with him for talks with leadersof American corporations, a statement issued today by Gore's officesaid. The prime minister is expected to stop in Seattle to meet withofficials of Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co. July 25 and then travel toDetroit July 26 to see officials of Ford Motor Co.

Economics Minister Andrei Shapovalyants reported last weekend thatforeign investment in Russia had slumped 40 percent in the first quarterof the year, compared with 1998. He promised reforms to attractinvestors unnerved by Russia's financial troubles.

Total foreign investment in Russia was $1.5 billion in January-March,down from $2.5 billion in the same period last year. Direct investmenttotaled $600 million, down 20 percent.

Former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov was on his way here in March fora commission meeting when he turned around his jet and went home ratherthan be in Washington for the announcement that NATO warplanes werebombing Yugoslavia to force a settlement in Kosovo.

Gore, in a statement, said the commission was useful in helping the twosides to ``expand our areas of agreement and open channels we can drawon during periods of disagreement.''

Russia disagreed with the NATO assault, but helped arrange a settlementthat removes all Serb troops and special police from the province.Russian troops are serving a peacekeepers.

A mini-crisis erupted when hundreds of the troops were rushed toPristina, the Kosovo provincial capital, and stayed there, withoutnotice to Washington and after Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov assuredSecretary ofState Madeleine Albright they would be withdrawn.

At a summit meeting in Germany, however, President Clinton concludedagreements with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on several fronts,including approval of the administration's program to build ananti-missile defense.

However, the Clinton administration is withholding support for Russia ininternational lending institutions until it reforms its economic system.
D. U.S. - Russia General
Activists drum up support for Senate vote on test ban treaty
Tom Raum
Associated Press
July 6, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON (July 6, 1999 10:55 p.m. EDT -It's been nearly three years since President Clinton became the firstworld leader to sign a treaty calling for a global ban on nuclear testexplosions. The Senate has yet to even hold a hearing on it.

The Senate is not alone: So far, only 18 of the 44 nations with nuclearcapabilities that must ratify the wide-ranging Comprehensive Test BanTreaty have taken action. Now, with a September ratification deadlineapproaching, treaty activists are stepping up their campaign to bringthe measure to the Senate floor.

In Washington, the treaty remains bottled up in the Senate ForeignRelations Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., is lockedin a dispute with the Clinton administration over two other treaties.

"The Senate is dragging its feet on this issue and it's unforgivable,"said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., a leader in the effort bring the treatyto a vote. He said he and other test-ban supporters will get "moreaggressive" in the coming weeks.

Dorgan declined to say what that meant, but there's no question that ahandful of determined senators can bring havoc to the Senate's schedule.

"Russia is waiting for us, China is waiting for Russia," said ThomasGraham, president of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security and aformer director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. "Thedelay in ratification is exclusively that there haven't been hearings.There is no other reason."

The 1996 pact includes a pledge against all testing of nuclear devicesand sets up a global system of sensors to monitor compliance. It wassigned by 152 nations, but ratification is moving slowly.

The approaching deadline is Sept. 23, the third anniversary of thetreaty's opening for signature. After that, a conference will be held toconvene to consider what measures might be taken to get non-ratifyingmembers to join, including possibly economic steps. Only nations thatratified the treaty could participate in the conference - leaving theUnited States without direct influence.

Under the treaty, all 44 states with some nuclear capacity must sign forit to take effect. Even one holdout - by, say, North Korea - could keepthe treaty from taking effect.

Supporters of the test-ban treaty say it would lock in U.S. superioritygained in over 1,000 nuclear tests during the Cold War, while failing toratify the pact could open the door to additional nuclear tests by Indiaand Pakistan - now caught up in another military dustup over Kashmir -or other nations.

Opponents argue it could threaten America's ability to deliver aneffective nuclear strike, if one is ever needed.

Supporters are encouraged by Russian President Boris Yeltsin's expressedwillingness last month to renegotiate a landmark 1972 arms-reductiontreaty and signs that the Russian parliament may soon take up the STARTII treaty, a later nuclear-reduction pact.

Politically, the test-ban treaty has become linked with Russian actionon those earlier treaties.

At the core of the dispute: the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.Conservatives don't like it because it prohibits development of anational missile defense system. Some consider the ABM treaty defunctsince the Soviet Union no longer exists.

Last week, Congress sent President Clinton a bill to commit the UnitedStates to such an anti-missile system, regardless of the ABM treaty.

In another concession, the administration's top arms-control official,John Holum, told a Senate hearing the United States should go ahead withplans to build the system despite ABM prohibitions, suggesting it was inthe national interest.

But Helms has shown little interest in such overtures, at leastpublicly.

Before moving on the test-ban treaty, Helms wants the administration tofirst submit to the Senate modifications in the ABM treaty agreed tothree years ago by Clinton and Yeltsin.

The administration says it will submit the modifications, but only afterRussia ratifies START II.

Helms also wants the administration to submit the climate treatynegotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, even though it wouldlikely be defeated.

Helms hasn't changed his mind, spokesman Marc Theissen said.

"They've got to submit the ABM treaty (modifications) and Kyoto," hesaid.

With Helms refusing to schedule hearings, the only way the treaty couldbe pried from the committee would be for Senate Majority Leader TrentLott, R-Miss., to bring it directly to the floor.

But Republican Senate sources said Lott was not inclined to do so,particularly after criticism from conservatives two years ago forhelping to win ratification of an also-controversial chemical weaponsban treaty.

Dorgan conceded that getting Helms to change his mind, or persuadingLott to put the treaty on the Senate agenda, is no easy task.Furthermore, there's no guarantee the treaty - which requires 67 votes -will be ratified. But it's still worth the effort, he said.

The United States has not conducted a full-fledged nuclear test since1992, although it conducted tests on two nuclear devices in 1997 usingchemical, rather than nuclear, explosions.

India and Pakistan conducted tests last year, China in 1996 and Francein 1995-1996.

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