1. Russia and American Soldiers Discuss at the Pentagon Measures for Strengthening the Regime for WMD Nonproliferation, Reported Baluyevsky
(for personal use only)
Translated by RANSAC Staff
MOSCOW. February 3rd. Interfax-AVN ï¿½ Russian-American consultations on strengthening the nonproliferation regime continued in Washington at the level of military experts of the two countries, reported First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Col. Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky to ï¿½Interfax-AVNï¿½ on Tuesday.
ï¿½The Russian side at the meetings at the Pentagon is headed by Head of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense Col. Gen. Anatoly Mazurkevich,ï¿½ ï¿½ he said.
In the words of Baluyevsky, ï¿½in the meetings the Russian side wanted to receive explanations on a series of specific questions of a purely military-applied science nature on President George Bushï¿½s initiatives for strengthening the nonproliferation regime.ï¿½
ï¿½For example, I place among the specific questions the understanding of the term ï¿½interceptionï¿½, which the American side is proposing to undertake, including aircraft that are suspected of carrying WMD component,ï¿½ ï¿½ noted the general.
ï¿½If in the first meaning interception means that we should forcedly compel aircraft, flying over airspace, to land, and if they do not obey the commands, to destroy itï¿½ ï¿½ said Baluyevsky.
ï¿½However,ï¿½ he continued, ï¿½if by the word ï¿½interceptionï¿½ is understood occasional elementary inspections, which are carried out in naval courts in accordance with international naval law; in the air ï¿½ in accordance with international laws of air transportation and flight; on ground transport ï¿½ at customs and border checkpoints. In this the specifics become apparent. We have domestic state laws, including the law on defense, the law on state borders, which are beyond the American proposals,ï¿½ ï¿½ said Baluyevsky.
ï¿½I am not a lawyer, but in my understanding Russian legislation today is the most strict in relations to question concerning the transportation of components or materials from which terrorists could create WMD,ï¿½ ï¿½ said the commander.
2. Russia Hesitant To Sign Pledge To Inspect Planes, Ships For Trafficking
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW - (KRT) - Russia reacted warily to a U.S. request that it join other industrialized nations in pledging to intercept planes and ships suspected of trafficking materials for weapons of mass destruction, saying Friday that the plan could impinge on nations' free-trade rights.
Every Group of Eight nation except Russia has signed the Bush administration's Proliferation Security Initiative, which calls on member countries to crack down on illegal arms trade that could put components for nuclear, biological or chemical weapons in the hands of rogue states or terrorists.
Washington sent U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton to Moscow on a two-day visit to persuade the Russian government to add its name to the list of signatories. Moscow balked, saying the plan "raised more questions than answers," according to an unnamed Russian defense official quoted by Moscow's Tass news agency.
"The American side has not given a clear explanation to the reasonable question from the Russian side about how such actions are in accordance with international law - in particular, the right to freedom of movement," the official told Tass.
President Bush unveiled the initiative last May during a speech in Krakow, Poland, stressing the need to "keep the world's most destructive weapons away from our shores and out of the hands of our common enemies."
Countries that sign on to the initiative commit themselves to boarding and searching ships or aircraft suspected of trafficking materials for weapons of mass destruction, sharing intelligence about suspected traffickers and allowing other signatory states to board and search vessels bearing the flag of their country.
Washington cites as one of the initiative's successes the seizure of a Libyan-bound vessel transporting nuclear centrifuge equipment last October. In December, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi announced his country was abandoning its clandestine nuclear and chemical weapons program.
U.S. officials say Russia has the military and law enforcement manpower and technology to make a significant contribution to the compact of 11 nations that have already signed the initiative.
However, analysts say Russia has also been a part of the problem. The government has failed to clamp down on Russian arms dealers who ply a lucrative black market with the help of corrupt border officials and lax enforcement of export controls.
The State Department recently said it has corroborated allegations that Russian arms dealers sold sophisticated military technology to Saddam Hussein's regime shortly before U.S. troops launched the invasion of Iraq last March.
In 1995, Russian dealers sold to Iraq fermentation equipment that United Nations inspectors warned could have been used to develop biological weapons. That same year, authorities in Jordan intercepted 30 crates of 115 Russian-made gyroscopes removed from long-range missiles and in transit from Russia to Karama, Iraq's missile development center.
Moreover, uranium recently confiscated from Libya's weapons program probably came from Russia, said an American diplomat. And the United States continues to urge Russia to drop its plans to deliver nuclear fuel to the reactor it is building in the Iranian city of Bushehr because of concerns that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
"We've been concerned about outward proliferation from Russia on a variety of fronts for some time," the American diplomat said Friday. "That's one reason why we're continuing to discuss Iran."
The United States would like Russia to sign on to the Proliferation Security Initiative before the G-8 nations meet in June in the United States. Bolton said Russian officials told him they support the spirit of the initiative.
"What they are deciding now," Bolton said, "is exactly to what extent their participation in the effort will be."
Meanwhile, Russia also announced Friday that it plans to conduct its largest nuclear forces exercise in 20 years next month. The daily newspaper Kommersant reported that Moscow had informed Washington of its plans, which include test-firing cruise missiles over the northern Atlantic and conducting strategic bomber flights over the country's Arctic regions.
The newspaper characterized the exercises as a show of military might ahead of presidential elections in March, when President Vladimir Putin is expected to win a second four-year term.
3. "Encouraging": Bolton On Moscow Response To Bush Disarmament Initiative
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, JANUARY 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russian response to US President George W. Bush's disarmament initiative satisfies John Bolton, US Undersecretary of State, currently on visit to Moscow.
Russian spokesmen asked him many questions on the Bush initiative to put an end to mass destruction weapon exports, and what they had to say on the matter encouraged the American side, he said to a news conference this afternoon.
The United States is calling on Russia to partnerly action of the two countries' military structures and intelligence services, said Mr. Bolton.
The Bush initiative aims to toughen WMD export control. Russia approves it, and is weighing opportunities to join the effort, he added.
4. Baluyevsky, Bolton Discuss US Non-Proliferation Initiative
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, January 30 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia is willing to develop various types of cooperation with the United States in curbing the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, but on condition that the cooperation will be developed strictly in accordance with norms of international law. This stand was set forth by Colonel General Yuri Baluyevsky, First Deputy Chief of the General Staff, at a meeting with U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton on Friday, Itar-Tass learned from a reliable source in the Russian Defence Ministry. They discussed the U.S. initiative on security in the sphere of proliferation of mass destruction weapons.
ï¿½The explanations given by the U.S. diplomat did not fully satisfy the Russian officials. We still fail to understand in what way the U.S. initiative, which suggests the forcible interception and detention of planes and ships on suspicion that they carry components of mass destruction weapons, falls in line with international law. Neither did we get an answer to the question about the practical ability to put the initiative into effect, because there are a lot of unclear moments in it,ï¿½ the source said.
Nevertheless, he continued, Russian-American consultations on non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons will be continued in Washington early in February. Colonel General Anatoly Mazurkevich, head of the chief department of international military cooperation under the Defence Ministry, will represent Russia at the consultations.
The meeting, which is going on behind closed doors, was proposed by the US as part of its non-proliferation initiative, a Russian Defence Ministry official told Itar-Tass.
ï¿½It is expected te the American side will try to clarify during the meeting the many aspects of its initiative that cause concern of the Russian side, first of all from the point of view of its consistency with norms of the international law,ï¿½ he said.
ï¿½It is not a secret that the US wants very much that Russia, which has a powerful antiterrorist potential, joins the group of states that already support the initiative of Washington,ï¿½ the military official said.
However, any decisions will not be made at the meeting of Baluyevsky and Bolton, he added.
It will be an exchange of opinions. The Russian general will hear out Bolton and will ask questions.
ï¿½Nonetheless, the meetings already conducted by the American diplomat in Moscow suggest that the Russian military leadership will receive far from all clear and intelligible answers to questions that it has about the USï¿½ initiative,ï¿½ the Defence Ministryï¿½s representative said.
5. Moscow To Approach Pragmatically Its Possible Participation In Bush's Disarmament Initiative
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, January 30, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia will take a decision on its possible joining George Bush's disarmament initiative, proceeding from its national interests.
As RIA Novosti was told by a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry, the USA does not set any conditions to Russia and did not name the final date for joining this initiative.
"We shall cooperate in checking illegal arms deliveries; our interests coincide with the interests of a whole number of countries in preventing the appearance of black arms markets. But whether this will be done within the framework of Bush's initiative or with the use of other mechanisms will depend on the aims of such cooperation, said the source.
The source reminded RIA Novosti that at the negotiations in Moscow US Under Secretary John Bolton gave additional explanations to his Russian colleagues with regard to the legal foundation of Bush's initiative.
"This mechanism is developing; it is not an organisation, but most likely a process which makes it possible for its participants to coordinate their actions in checking illegal deliveries of weapons of mass destruction or appropriate materials," the source said.
He pointed out that the initiative has two basic documents, that is, the Paris statement on principles and the London statement which develops the idea of this initiative.
"We will consider our possible cooperatin within the framework of this initiative or in another format with due account of several basic positions," the source said. Some of them are: the correspondence of the fulfillment of Bush's initiative to the norms of International Law, how this cooperation will be built, and how much it meets Russia's interests.
"Discussions continue, and I cannot say today that we have received satisfactory answers to all our questions concerning this initiative," the source told RIA Novosti.
6. US Fails To Get Russia On Board In Fight Against Spread Of WMD
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW (AFP) Jan 30, 2004 Russia on Friday rejected an initial US bid to convince it to join countries ready to intercept ships and planes which may be trafficking weapons of mass destruction across the globe.
Undersecretary of State John Bolton spent two days in Moscow meeting top defense and foreign ministry officials, but failed to convince them that Russia should join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).
The agreement has been signed by all members of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations except for Russia. Washington would like to see Moscow on board by the time the United States hosts the next G8 summit in June.
But Bolton admitted that Moscow at the moment had too many questions about the PSI despite its participation in the US-led "war on terror".
Russia fears that the PSI initiative will allow the United States to launch unilateral raids without agreement from international institutions like the UN Security Council, where Russia has veto power.
The issue of Russia's role in international affairs has become particularly sensitive after the United States launched the war on Iraq despite Russia's opposition to the campaign.
Meanwhile Bolton is seen as one of the more hawkish officials within the US administration and appeared to receive a curt reception in Moscow during his visit.
He has previously played tough with Russia on issues concerning nuclear disarmament and Washington's recent decision to annul a Cold War-era agreement on preventing the construction of nation-wide nuclear defense shields -- an agreement based on the premise that a nuclear war would assure destruction of both countries and which therefore would never be launched.
Bolton ended his visit to Moscow by saying that "we are prepared to hold more discussions."
"I believe that they are certainly supportive of the PSI," he said of his Russian counterparts.
"And I think they are considering what their objectives will be," Bolton told reporters after meetings that included one with Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev.
But he admitted that Russia at the moment was concerned about how seriously it was being treated by the international community and whether Moscow would be seen as an equal partner in the anti-terror campaign of the United States and other Western nations.
"I don't think that the Russia position is that they are opposed to this (PSI).... I think they are studying the extent of the involvement they would like to have.
Bolton admitted that it was still not clear "whether they (the Russians) are full participants or not" in the war against terror. "We think that Russia brings a lot of advantages to the table."
But the message was far more skeptical when delivered by Russian officials.
"The explanation presented by the US side was far from satisfactory from the Russian point of view," Russian news agencies quoted a defense ministry official who attended Bolton's talks with foreign ministry officials as saying.
The source said that Russia "was unable to understand how the forceful interception of planes and ships that may be carrying weapons of mass destruction agrees with international law."
"We have also failed to receive the technical aspects" of how these operations would be conducted, the source said.
The source added that Russia would only sign up to the agreement "if this initiative answers our national interests."
Bolton's visit came just days after the stay of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who published an article in a top Russian daily criticizing President Vladimir Putin's approach to the media and political freedoms in Russia.
7. Russia Cool to U.S. Pressure on Arms Interdiction
(for personal use only)
Russia has given a cool response to U.S. proposals to focus high-level talks this week on a treaty cracking down on trade in weapons of mass destruction, Itar-Tass news agency reported on Thursday.
U.S. officials have said Undersecretary of State John Bolton will try to persuade Moscow to join other Group of Eight industrialised nations in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The aim would be to secure Russian membership before the June G8 summit in the United States.
But Tass quoted an "informed source" as saying Russian officials wanted to focus the talks, which opened in Moscow on Thursday between Bolton and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak, on other issues such as strategic arsenals. "The U.S. side would want to discuss regional aspects of disarmament and the struggle against illegal arms traffic," the source said. "For its part the Russian side is interested in exchanging views on implementing the Moscow treaty on strategic potentials and general issues concerning the non-proliferation regime."
The Moscow treaty, signed two years ago, stemmed from informal agreements between presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush on making deep cuts in long-range nuclear missiles, replacing the Soviet-era arms reduction pacts. A senior diplomatic source told reporters on Wednesday that Moscow had expected this week's talks to concentrate on following through on nuclear arms cuts.
The PSI treaty is aimed at halting the flow of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons-related materials and missiles bound for states viewed with distrust in Washington, like North Korea and Iran. Bush launched the PSI last May and U.S. officials say it has already had successes, including the seizure last October of a Libyan-bound ship carrying nuclear centrifuge equipment that helped persuade Tripoli to give up its nuclear ambitions.
Participating countries have also held multinational exercises that have provided experience in interdiction and intelligence sharing for their militaries, U.S. officials say.
Russia, suspicious that searches of ships in the open ocean could jeopardise international trade and create a precedent for breaking international law, is cautious about the PSI, although it has never criticised it openly.
8. US Lobbies Russia To Join Campaign Against Illicit Arms Shipments
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW (AFP) Jan 29, 2004
A top US defense official launched two days of talks Thursday in Moscow aimed at persuading Russia to join Western nations prepared to intercept ships and planes that may be spreading illegal arms.
US Undersecretary of State John Bolton was expected to raise Russia's refusal to sign up to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) during his meeting with foreign and defense officials.
Bolton will also meet Friday with Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev as part of an ongoing discussion about the safety of a project in which Russia is constructing the first nuclear power plant in Iran.
US and Russian negotiators will also touch on North Korea amid uncertainty about when -- or even if -- a new round of six-way consultations on the Stalinist state's nuclear standoff with the United States will take place.
Bolton met Thursday with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak for talks US officials said would focus on the PSI.
Russia is the only member of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations not to have signed up to the agreement. US officials have said they would like to see Russia on board by the time the United States hosts a G8 summit in June.
The aim of Bolton's visit "is to get Russia involved in the Proliferation Security Initiative. This is one of the focuses of John Bolton's visit," a US official in Moscow said.
Russia fears that the initiative will allow the United States to launch unilateral raids against ships and planes without agreement from international institutions like the UN Security Council where Russia has veto power.
"We have questions about this initiative's compliance with international legal norms," Interfax quoted a Russian foreign ministry official as saying.
But the diplomat added: "In general, the idea of intercepting vehicles shipping dangerous substances meets Russia's interests. We share the direction of this initiative."
Bolton is further expected to urge Moscow not to supply nuclear fuel to Iran's Bushehr reactor until the Islamic state provides further evidence to United Nations inspectors that it was not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Moscow has said it will not deliver nuclear fuel to Iran until Tehran signs up to an agreement that would see all of the spent material returned to Russia.
The United States and Israel fear the spent fuel could be reprocessed by Iran to create nuclear weapons, and Tehran has so far stalled on signing the agreement with Moscow.
Rumyantsev is expected to hold a new round of consultations in Iran next month, and the United States has recently applauded Russia's more cautious approach to the project.
Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran was previously one of the main stumbling blocks in relations between Moscow and Washington.
9. U.S. Urging Russia to Join Arms Interdiction Effort
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration is hoping to persuade Russia to formally join a growing alliance of countries prepared to undertake interdictions to halt the trade in weapons of mass destruction, senior U.S. officials say.
Russia is the only member of the Group of Eight major industrial nations that is not yet a member of the Proliferation Security Initiative and the administration would like to see that absence remedied in time for the U.S.-hosted G8 summit at Sea Island, Georgia, in June, the officials told Reuters.
The so-called PSI is aimed at halting the flow of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons-related materials and missiles bound for states like North Korea and Iran.
It is expected to be a major topic when Undersecretary of State John Bolton visits Moscow this week for talks with senior Russian officials.
In addition, Bolton is expected to urge Russia to continue to withhold fuel for a nuclear reactor Moscow is building for Iran at Bushehr, as least as long as Tehran's nuclear ambitions remain a subject of concern.
"With Canada now joining, it would mean Russia is the only G8 country that's not a full participant in PSI. It would be nice if we could bring them in," one U.S. official said.
While the G8 summit agenda is not set, the Americans hope to keep it tightly focused on no more than three broad topics and nonproliferation efforts are likely to be among them.
When President Bush announced the PSI last May, it included 11 countries -- the United States, Australia, Britain, Japan, Poland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands.
In December, five more countries came aboard: Canada, Denmark, Norway, Singapore and Turkey.
U.S. officials say the initiative already has had successes, including the seizure last October of a Libyan-bound ship carrying nuclear centrifuge equipment that helped persuade Tripoli to give up its nuclear ambitions.
Participating countries also have held multinational exercises that have provided experience in interdiction and intelligence sharing for their militaries, officials say.
Washington and Moscow generally have had cooperative ties during Bush's tenure, especially on terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Two sources of friction have been the Iraq war and Russia's cooperation with Iran, which the United States accuses of aggressively pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Once wary of PSI, now "the Russians are interested in knowing more about it and perhaps even participating," a senior U.S. official said.
This would be somewhat ironic, since the United States previously accused Russia of being a major proliferator.
Nonproliferation expert Henry Sokolski said that in one sense Russia's participation "doesn't change anything because the PSI is only asking countries to uphold their own laws."
On the other hand, if Russia joined, it would leave China -- whose transfer of weapons-related technology has also been a U.S. concern -- as the only member of the U.N. Security Council not participating.
"It would consolidate support for these (nonproliferation) principles and make it tough for countries that don't support them to get away with this behavior," said Sokolski of the Non-proliferation Education Center thinktank.
1. K-159 Will Not Be Raised From Ocean Floor This Year
(for personal use only)
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov is not sure that raising of the K-159 submarine, which sank this year in the Barents Sea, is possible this year, RIA Novosti-North West reported from St Petersburg January 27th.
"I am afraid this year we will not be entirely technically prepared for this," Kuroyedov told reporters. ï¿½The submarine will be definitely raised in any caseï¿½ he stressed. But, so far, no decision has been taken on the exact time of lifting it, the admiral said. "We shall raise it when we are ready," he added. The retired K-159 sank on August 30 last year, as it was towed to a dockyard for dismantling. Only one of its ten crewmen was saved.
In the earlier statements Kuroyedov promised to raise the submarine by autumn 2004. The salvage operation was originally to take place in August and September 2004.
1. Interview Of Russian Foreign Ministry Official Spokesman Alexander Yakovenko About Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini's Upcoming Visit To Russia
(for personal use only)
Q: Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini will visit Russia on February 4-7. What is the goal of his visit?
A: Currently, Italy is Russia's leading European partner. Never before have the Russian-Italian relations been so close, dynamic and fruitful. Franco Frattini's upcoming visit to Russia is a continuation of the intensive and rich bilateral political dialogue aimed at effective cooperation between our countries.
Q: What are the most important topics to be discussed?
A: The consideration of bilateral issues will focus on practical implementation of the agreements reached at the top level during Russian President Vladimir Putin's state visit to Italy November 4-7, 2003. At issue in particular is a new impulse to cooperation within the Global Partnership Against the Proliferation of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, in the cultural and educational areas, communications and information technologies, in facilitating the visa issuing process to Russian and Italian citizens, and in the fight against terrorism and crime.
There are plans to coordinate our views on other pressing international issues, including European security, the situations in Iraq, the Balkans, the Korean peninsula and Afghanistan.
The exchange of opinions between the two countries on international issues has recently become highly trusting. The Russian-Italian political dialogue is becoming an increasingly important factor of European and world policy.
Q: What are the Russian-Italian trade and economic relations like now?
A: This year, the work to further expand our economic cooperation with Italy will be continued. In terms of trade turnover, Italy today ranks second among Russia's West European partners. Now promising joint projects, including projects in the energy and hi-tech sectors and in small and medium-sized business, are on the agenda.
In this respect, the sides suggest that Russian-Italian interaction in developing cooperation between Russia and the European Union be discussed with due account for the results achieved during Italy's presidency in the European Union in the latter half of 2003.
1. Iran, Russia Donï¿½t Disagree In Atomic Energy Cooperation
(for personal use only)
Tehran, Feb 1, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- Iran and Russia do not have major differences in the atomic energy cooperation, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Hamid Reza Asefi said on Sunday, referring to the forthcoming visit of Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev to Teheran.
"I do not know exactly the agenda of the future negotiations, but I can assure you that Iran and Russia do not have major differences in this respect," Asefi said.
They only have to settle some technical problems in the construction of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, "mostly the return of spent nuclear fuel to Russia," he said.
As for the statement of Paul Bremer, the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, that Al-Qaeda gunmen are penetrating into Iraq from Iran, Asefi said, the Iranian authorities are controlling the national borders and do not allow anyone to cross the border illegally.
"If we arrest members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, they will be prosecuted in this country in line with the law," he said.
1. Moscow Welcomes Six-Sided Negotiations On North Korea
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 3 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Russia welcomes the decision to hold the second round of six-sided negotiations on North Korea, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov told RIA Novosti.
"This is undoubtedly a positive development of events. We are ready to take part in such negotiations at any time," said the high-ranking Russian diplomat.
The Chinese foreign ministry officially declared on Tuesday that the new round of negotiations on the North Korean nuclear program will take place on February 25 in Beijing. The official Central Telegraph Agency of North Korea confirmed this date.
The first round of negotiations with the participation of both Koreas as well as the United States, Russia, China and Japan was held in the Chinese capital last August.
The participants in the negotiations are trying to find conditions of freezing the program that would suit the DPRK. The United States fear that this program may be used for the production of nuclear weapons.
2. Russia Can Raise Status Of Its Participation In Six-Party Talks On North Korea
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia can raise the status of its participation in the six-party talks on North Korea, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said on Tuesday. He foresees the establishment of the post of Russia's special representative for the North Korean nuclear problem.
The post may be created if the sides negotiating in Beijing decide to carry on the consultations in working groups, said the Russian diplomat. He recalled that the USA has the post of special representative at the six-party talks, held by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly.
The second round of the talks is set for February 25.
NIIGATA, Japan, Feb. 1 - On North Korea's desolate eastern coast, 600 miles directly across the Sea of Japan from here, soldiers guard an abandoned construction site where two light-water nuclear reactors were to be built.
North Korea is desperately short of energy, and agreed in 1994 to halt its nuclear weapons program in exchange for help from its capitalist neighbors and the United States in building nuclear power plants. But work at the site was halted on Dec. 1 because the United States said North Korea had violated the 1994 agreement by pursuing nuclear weapons anyway. On Friday, the State Department said the civilian nuclear power program had "no future." In retaliation, North Korea is holding hostage the construction equipment at the site belonging to contractors from South Korea, which has sunk almost $1 billion into the project.
With the civilian nuclear power program off the table, North Korea needs another plan for expanding its energy supply, and its neighbors need a way to break the diplomatic stalemate. On Monday, at a regional energy forum here, energy executives from Russia and the United States outlined two proposals. Both ideas - a 235-mile electric power line from Vladivostok and a 1,500-mile natural gas pipeline from Sakhalin - highlight Russia's future as an energy exporter to Northeast Asia. Just as Canadian power fuels much of the United States, so the hydroelectric resources of the Russian Far East seem destined to flow south to China, Japan and the Koreas.
"Everyone wants a nonnuclear solution" to North Korea's energy proablem, said John B. Fetter, an American consultant who traveled here from Philadelphia to present the $3 billion natural gas pipeline project proposed by the KoRus Gas Company, a consortium of American, Russian and South Korean owners.
The project calls for a pipe to be laid from the vast gas deposits off Sakhalin Island, southwest through Russian territory to North Korea and, probably, on to Seoul, South Korea's capital, as well. Mr. Fetter said gas could flow through it as soon as 2008.
By then, it is hoped, at least one reliable customer for the gas will have emerged in North Korea, a nation notorious for rewriting rules after the fact and for failing to pay its bills. If the pipeline is built all the way through to South Korea, it would reach a nation of 47 million whose appetite for energy is growing rapidly. Oil consumption has quadrupled since 1980, and South Korea is now the world's fourth- largest oil importer, after the United States, Japan and China. Analysts expect demand for gas to increase by 50 percent in the next 10 years.
For North Korea, though, an electric transmission line promises faster, cheaper relief.
For just $180 million or so, a 500-kilovolt line could be built in four years, according to Victor N. Minakov, general director of Vostokenergo, a subsidiary of Russia's state electric utility, United Energy Systems.
The timetables for both projects are ambitious, and financing them could pose problems, industry experts said. But both projects reflect the future importance of the Russian Far East as an energy supplier to Asia, according to Alexei M. Mastepanov, deputy director of Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly.
North Korea's energy needs are critical. It depended for decades on tankers full of oil delivered at subsidized "friendship prices" by China and Russia, but both its patrons began charging market prices in the early 1990's, and North Korea has yet to recover from the blow.
Shortages of energy crippled North Korea's industry, and much of the country regressed to a 19th-century existence of candlelight and wood stoves. In rural areas, many trucks are run with gas generators fueled by wood or charcoal, as in Europe during World War II when gasoline was scarce.
North Korean officials support both the gas-pipeline proposal and the power line proposal, but have no money to pay for them, according to people attending the conference who had recently been to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
If either project is built, then, it would probably come as foreign aid, probably in exchange for once again putting North Korea's nuclear weapons program back under international inspection and control. After a six-month break in talks over the weapons program, American diplomats were touring Northeast Asia over the weekend trying to restart the negotiations.
Yevgeny Afanasiev, a senior Russian diplomat, said at the forum that his country "will do our utmost" to promote the two projects. "They do not have to be part of a package, they could be separate,'' Mr. Afanasiev said. "But think of private investors, think of the high political risk - would you invest?"
Financing could come as part of a wider package that would gain North Korea entry into the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Or the money might be put up by South Korea, which would stand to benefit both directly and indirectly.
"The Russians basically believe that South Koreans will pay for it," said Yonghun Jung, a Korean executive at the Asia Pacific Energy Research Center in Tokyo.
But many South Korean businesspeople see North Korea as an unreliable money pit.
Korea Gas, favors bringing Russian gas to South Korea through China and an underwater pipeline, bypassing North Korea and denying it any control over the supply.
Later this month, Russia's strategic nuclear forces will hold their largest exercises since the early 1980s.
The official explanation, according to a report in Kommersant, is that the war games are designed to help Russia prepare to counter terrorist threats.
But no sensible person could believe that the launching of cruise missiles over the Atlantic and satellites into space combined with the test-firing of ballistic missiles would make the military better able to interdict a group of terrorists, even if they had managed to get hold of a nuclear weapon.
When the military last held war games of a similar scale, in 1982, both the Kremlin and the White House knew perfectly well what they were for -- to simulate a global nuclear war. The planned exercises will also simulate a U.S.-Russian nuclear war, and the Russian side should not pretend otherwise.
The strategic exercises are clearly intended to send a message to Washington, but also to the voters at home as President Vladimir Putin comes up for re-election.
It would be a little alarming if the Kremlin was planning to simulate a nuclear war just to show that Russia is still a power to be reckoned with. What is more alarming is that Russian commanders, though they would not admit it in public, continue to believe that a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia is possible and thus that they should plan for it. Sadly, the situation is the same with U.S. commanders.
Otherwise, how to explain why each country has 2,500 nuclear warheads on hair-trigger alert? Even a fraction of these would be enough to deter and, if necessary, destroy any third nuclear power. And the high state of alert greatly increases the risk of a false alarm triggering a nuclear exchange.
The reported holes in Russia's early warning system, and the fact that a joint center for exchanging data from early warning systems, which leaders of the two countries agreed to establish at a summit in 2000, has yet to materialize, increases the risk of a doomsday even more.
The sheer number of launch-ready nuclear weapons on both sides makes it easier for terrorists to try to seize one or hack into the command and control network to launch one.
True, Russian and U.S. leaders have done a lot to reduce their nuclear arsenals, increase security and improve communications between their strategic commands. They need to do even more. If they are serious about fighting terrorism, political leaders on the banks of the Potomac and the Moskva should prod their generals to game joint interdictions of nuclear terrorist attacks rather than U.S.-Russian nuclear wars.
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's nuclear forces reportedly are preparing their largest maneuvers in two decades, an exercise involving the test-firing of missiles and flights by dozens of bombers in a massive simulation of an all-out nuclear war.
President Vladimir Putin is expected to personally oversee the maneuvers, which are apparently aimed at demonstrating the revival of the nation's military might and come ahead of Russian elections in March.
The business newspaper Kommersant said the exercise was set for mid-February and would closely resemble a 1982 Soviet exercise dubbed the ``seven-hour nuclear war'' that put the West on edge.
Official comments on the upcoming exercise have been sketchy. The chief of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, Col.-Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, was quoted by the Interfax-Military News Agency as saying the planned maneuvers would involve several launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles in various regions of Russia, but he wouldn't give further details.
A Defense Ministry spokesman refused to comment on the reports. The Russian military typically says little about upcoming exercises.
In Washington, the State Department said it has seen reports that Russia has plans to conduct the exercises in February. The department also said Russia is obliged to notify the United States 24 hours before a missile test and has done so in the past.
Kommersant said the maneuvers would involve Tu-160 strategic bombers test-firing cruise missiles over the northern Atlantic. Analysts describe such an exercise as an imitation of a nuclear attack on the United States.
Other groups of bombers will fly over Russia's Arctic regions and test-fire missiles at a southern range near the Caspian Sea, the newspaper said.
As part of the exercise, the military is planning to conduct several launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, including one from a Russian nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea, the Kommersant report said.
The military also plans to launch military satellites from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the Plesetsk launch pad in northern Russia - a simulation of the replacement of satellites lost in action, Kommersant said.
Russia's system warning of an enemy missile attack and a missile defense system protecting Moscow will also be involved in the exercise, it added.
Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent military analyst, said the military has regularly held nuclear exercises that were timed to coincide with the annual test-firing of aging Soviet-built missiles.
"It has been a routine affair, but it can be expanded if they want a show,'' he said.
Ivan Safranchuk, head of the Moscow office of the Center for Defense Information, a Washington-based think-tank, said the maneuvers would further strengthen Putin's popularity ahead of the March 14 presidential election he is expected to win easily.
Putin has repeatedly pledged to rebuild Russia's military might and restore pride to the demoralized service. When he ran for his first term in 2000, he flew as a second pilot in a fighter jet and later donned naval officer's garb on a visit to a nuclear submarine - images that played well with many voters who are nostalgic for Soviet global power and military prestige.
"This exercise will make a great show, with Putin receiving reports from military commanders,'' Safranchuk told The Associated Press.
Kommersant said Moscow had notified Washington about the exercise, describing it as part of efforts to fend off terror threats even though it imitates the Cold War scenario of an all-out war.
"The exercise follows the old scenario, and casting it as anti-terror is absurd,'' Safranchuk said.
Putin's support for the United States following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks bolstered relations with Washington and helped broker a new U.S.-Russian nuclear arms reduction deal and a Russia-NATO partnership agreement in 2002.
But the U.S.-Russian honeymoon has soured lately over Moscow's criticism of the war in Iraq , U.S. concerns about authoritarian trends in the Kremlin's domestic policy, and Russia's perceived attempts to assert its authority over ex-Soviet neighbors.
1. Nuclear Power Minister Meets With BNFL Executive Director
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 3 (RIA Novosti) - On Tuesday Russian Nuclear Power Minister Alexander Rumyantsev and Michael Parker, Executive Director of the British state-run company BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels Ltd.) have considered an increase in the nuclear safety of reactor units, modernization and greater efficiency of Russian nuclear power stations, says the Russian ministry in the press release.
The discussion proceeded within the framework of the British program for giving Russia assistance in enhancing nuclear power plant safety, Rosenergoatom-BNFL cooperation.
Also under discussion were: interaction in the production of fresh nuclear fuel and its components, export of Russian uranium-enrichment services, transportation of nuclear materials to foreign customers within the Tekhsnabexport-BNFL contract on the provision of BNFL transport and forwarding services in the supply of Russian uranium under contracts with European and Japanese customers.
2. Russia, EU Poised To Start Negotiating Uranium Supplies
(for personal use only)
Moscow. (Interfax) - Russia and the EU are poised to start specific negotiations concerning natural and enriched uranium shipments to the European market, said First Deputy prime Minister Viktor Khristenko.
Khristenko said the issue was discussed with European Commission Director General for Energy and Transport Francois Lamoureux on Monday.
Khristenko said EU member-states had issued a mandate for talks with Russia on imports of natural and enriched uranium. "These talks will begin imminently," Khristenko said.
Russia wants to round the talks off before May 1, when the EU starts to take on new members. The forthcoming EU enlargement is important to Russia "from the point of view of preserving long-term contracts with candidate countries for supplying nuclear power plant fuel," Khristenko said.
3. Russian Region Offers Nuke Power Equipment Sales To Czech Republic
(for personal use only)
TULA, February 3 (Itar-Tass) - Counsellor at the Czech Embassy to Russia Vladimir Remek and Governor of Russiaï¿½s Tula region Vasily Starodubtsev met here on Tuesday to discuss aspects of further cooperation between the Czech Republic and the Tula region.
Foreign trade turnover between the Russian region and the Czech Republic amounted to 30.2 million U.S. dollars in 2003. The Tula region imports equipment and technical instruments and exports chemical and metallurgical products.
At present, the Russian region intends to enlarge its exports by offering to sell equipment to the Czech nuclear power industry and to expand military-technical cooperation with the Czech Republic.
The Czech delegation is now discussing this issue with Tula regional enterprises, research centers and the regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
(AP) --Russian and American scientists say they have created two new "superheavy" elements that will reside at the extreme end of chemistry's periodic table of elements.
Just a few atoms of the newly discovered elements, 113 and 115, existed for split seconds after being created in a particle accelerator. They represent unusual forms of matter with properties that go well beyond those of the 92 elements that occur naturally on Earth.
Superheavies may be abundantly generated by supernova explosions in stars. Or perhaps they were fused during the fiery moments that signaled the dawn if the universe.
Here on the ground, such tiny amounts of superheavies formed in atom smashers probably will never find an everyday use.
Yet their "birth" adds details to a broader -- and very competitive -- scientific inquiry to establish a single, unified theory that would explain the physical forces that govern the behavior of all matter.
Data on the new elements will appear in the journal Physical Review C, a publication of the American Physical Society that specializes in nuclear structure.
The discoveries will not be fully accepted and added to textbooks until other labs create the elements, a process that could take months or even years.
Confidence in nuclear structure experiments was shaken when the purported 1999 discovery of two elements was found to be false. But other researchers familiar with the latest study said they were confident in the results.
"The paper is solid," said Richard Casten, a Yale physicist and an editor for the journal.
He described the techniques employed at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California as "very tricky."
But Casten and others expressed confidence in the results and the scientists involved, especially Yuri Oganessian, the Russian physicist and lead author of the paper, for being able to interpret the results of the particle collisions in the Russian cyclotron, or circular accelerator, where the elements were created.
"I'm confident that the process was good," Casten said. "Yuri is a very well respected and careful guy."
Efforts to reach Oganessian and other key members of the research team Sunday were unsuccessful.
In the experiments, researchers fired a rare isotope of calcium at a target made from americium. The new element 115 was created on occasions when the nuclei of the calcium and americium fused.
In the artificial environs of the cyclotron, atoms of element 115, now labeled Ununpentium, apparently lasted only a fraction of second before it decayed into element 113. The atoms of element 113, known as Ununtrium, persisted for more than 1 second.
The 115 and 113 are the new elements' atomic numbers, which refer to the number of protons in their nuclei.
In nature, scientists theorize, they would belong to a special class of superheavy elements known as the "region of stability" that have a much longer life because the shell-like structure of their nuclei contain the highest numbers of precisely arranged protons and neutrons.
In 1999, California and Oregon State University researchers bombarded a lead target with a beam of krypton ions. They reported detecting three atoms of element 118, which then was the heaviest element detected. They decayed almost instantly into element 116.
But two years ago, the claims were retracted after a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was found to have fabricated data. Physicist Victor Ninov was the only member of the lab's 16-member team to be dismissed in the incident, and he is appealing the decision.
Other researchers later created element 116.
In 1999, Russian researchers at Dubna discovered another superheavy -- element 114 -- by bombarding plutonium with calcium ions.
5. Atomic Energy Ministry To Keep Exports Stable In 2003
(for personal use only)
Moscow. (Interfax) - The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry hopes to keep exports stable at $3 billion in 2003, Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev told Interfax.
"I think that at the end of this year exports by the nuclear sector will be similar to last year," he said.
The Atomic Energy Ministry said that in 2003 Russia increased nuclear product exports by $400 million to $3 billion.
"This is a serious figure. We have met out target that we promised the president," Rumyantsev said.
The minister said that most growth in nuclear exports was due to increased exports of fresh nuclear fuel for plants abroad.
According to information from the Russian company TVEL, one of the world's leading nuclear fuel producers, nuclear fuel exports increased 24.8% in 2003, including to Ukraine - 12.5%, Lithuania - 30.5%, and Hungary - 40.5%. TVEL has also restarted supplies of nuclear fuel to Armenia and has started supplying enhanced nuclear fuel to Ukraine.
Exports of nuclear products include enriched uranium, nuclear fuel, isotope products, the construction of nuclear power-producing units abroad and uranium and isotope enrichment services.
6. Spent Nuclear Fuel Shipped From Two Novovoronezh Retired Reactors
(for personal use only)
The last batch of spent nuclear fuel - 15 casings with spent nuclear fuel assemblies - had been taken off-site from shutdown Novovoronezh-1,2 last month, Nuclear.Ru reported.
Earlier 30 casings were shipped to Mayak plant. In the end of 2003 the most technologically complex stage of the work to prepare the remainder of the spent nuclear fuel for shipment was completed.
The spent nuclear fuel repackaging operations were preceded by a large-scale preparations and implementation of organisational and engineered measures involved peer reviews, concurrence and formalisation of a documentation package to justify safety during such operations, obtaining the relevant licenses and modifications to conditions of the Novovoronezh-1,2 operating license issued by the Russian State Nuclear Regulatory. Design, fabrication works and arranging of protective (hot) cell for cutting the storage casings and welding of transportation casings. Technical measures were developed to ensure operability of the protective cell and its equipment during spent fuel reloading operations.
Rosenergoatomï¿½s specialists worked together with the plant's engineers and technicians to support the activities and prepare spent fuel shipment from Novovoronezh-1, 2. After the last spent fuel batch was shipped off-site, Novovoronezh-1, 2 are ready for rendering them nuclear safe that will allow for continuing the implementation of the two nuclear power unitsï¿½ decommissioning program, Nuclear.ru reported.
1. Bolton's Visit to Moscow Focused on Bilateral Security Issues
Department of State
(for personal use only)
State's security affairs official has press conference January 30
The State Department's top arms control and international security official says his talks in Moscow January 29-30 on the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) were quite encouraging.
John Bolton, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, traveled to Moscow to discuss non-proliferation, arms control and international security matters with Russian civilian and military officials. "In particular," Bolton said, "we've discussed President Bush's proliferation and security initiative which he announced in a speech in Krakow, Poland, on May 31, and he has been very active since then in gathering together countries interested in taking strong measures to interdict trafficking in weapons of mass destruction and WMD-related materials on a world-wide basis." Bolton said the U.S. side was "quite encouraged with today's [January 30] and yesterday's [January 29] outcome and look forward to further consideration by the government here."
Bolton said, "The issues that we were trying to discuss over the past two days have been legitimate questions raised about what Russia's obligations would be, what kinds of activities it would be undertaking if it became a full participant in the initiative, and the kind of operational questions that one would expect to be asked. Our hope is that we've been able to supply answers or at least provide channels for discussion of further questions that might arise. And I think this has all been a very practical and constructive discussion so far."
Bolton noted that over 60 countries worldwide have announced their support for PSI. He said it is in the common national security interest "to cut the international trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. At a declaratory level, I don't think there's any doubt that that's where Russia stands as well."
Bolton met January 30 with, among others, the first deputy chief of the Russian army General Staff, General Baluyevsky. He said discussions with the general were on PSI.
Baluyevsky "had a number of very specific operational questions from the point of view of a military man, as he put it several times," Bolton said. "We also talked about the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and the subject of the U.S. effort to obtain bilateral agreements pursuant to Article 98 of the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court providing for the non-return of our respective citizens" to counter efforts by the court's prosecutor to investigate and prosecute them.
Bolton said he discussed "Libya's historic decision to forswear weapons of mass destruction and longer-range ballistic missiles" with Russian officials.
"I tried to give some understanding to various Russian officials with whom I met about how the Libyans had reached this decision and the steps that we and they and the British were undertaking together to implement the commitment to eliminate their WMD systems. And we did discuss in passing the effect that this precedent-setting Libyan decision might have on countries such as Syria," Bolton said.
Turning to Iran, Bolton said he had conversations about the Bushehr nuclear power project in a meeting with Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Rumyantsev. "We discussed his upcoming visit to Tehran and the status of the construction of Bushehr and the status of discussions with the Iranians -- between the Iranian and Russian governments about matters like the supply and take-back of fuel for the reactor," Bolton said.
Iï¿½m also proud of the great progress we have made with Russia on nonproliferation. Weï¿½ve accelerated the material protection programs and expanded the scope of our work to ensure that dangerous materials donï¿½t fall into the hands of terrorists. We have increased our cooperation with Russiaï¿½s Strategic Rocket Forces by initiating warhead security work at three new sites.
We have also extended our International Nuclear and Radiological Cleanout programs to states that were once part of the Soviet Union and its empire. Working with them, with Russia, and with the International Atomic Energy Agency, we have been able to secure radiological materials in these countries before anyone with evil designs could get their hands on it.
Moreover, we have begun a MegaPorts program to detect the trafficking of nuclear or radioactive materials in the worldï¿½s busiest seaports. Eventually we hope to have detection equipment in key locations all over the planet.
We are requesting $1.35 billion for our non-proliferation programs. Within this total amount, approximately $439 million will support DOEï¿½s commitment to the Global Partnership to sustain nuclear nonproliferation initiatives in the former Soviet Union. The G-8 leaders who make up the Global Partnership have pledged to devote up to $20 billion over ten years for cooperative efforts to address nonproliferation, counter-terrorism, and nuclear safety issues. President Bush has committed the U.S. to provide $10 billion, or half of that $20 billion, through programs in DOE, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State.
Of that amount, a total of $238 million is included for the International Nuclear Materials Protection and Cooperation program to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union. By the end of FY 2005, the Department will have secured 41 of 64 identified nuclear warhead sites and will have secured 37 percent of the approximately 600 metric tons of weapons usable nuclear material. To these ends we are requesting $15 million to help secure dangerous materials in Russiaï¿½s naval complex, and $45 million to continue Russian Strategic Rocket Forces activities.
An additional $50 million is requested for a key program aimed at the elimination of weapons grade plutonium production in Russia. Last year I signed an agreement with the Russian government to shut down the last remaining plutonium production plants in Russia. By 2011, we will replace three Soviet-era nuclear reactors in Russia with coal burning plants to result in the cessation of the annual production of 1.2 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.
The U.S. and Russian Plutonium Disposition programs are together funded at $649 million. This multi-year effort, in partnership with Russia, will result in construction and operation of two major facilities to convert 34 tons of weapons-usable plutonium in Russia and the U.S. into commercial nuclear reactor fuels. Construction of the multi-billion dollar U.S. facility is projected to start in FY 2005.
We are concerned about dangerous materials outside of the former Soviet Union, as well. Thatï¿½s why we are requesting approximately $45 million for International Nuclear and Radiological Cleanout programs. These programs, in conjunction with Russia, the IAEA, and various other foreign governments, are designed to secure and remove dangerous materials from vulnerable sites in countries like Egypt, Libya, and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, within the budgeted total for International Materials Protection, Control and Cooperation is a request for $15 million for the MegaPorts initiative I mentioned earlier.
3. Defense Comptroller Says Budget Decisions Driven By War on Terrorism (excerpted)
Department of State
(for personal use only)
The 2005 budget provides for continued development of a multi-tiered defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is asking for $9.2 billion this year, up from $7.7 billion last year. MDA's budget submission indicates that international participation has become a major priority for the program.
An MDA release says "we will strive to structure our programs to promote cooperation and ... seek to take advantage of allies' capabilities to enhance the BMDS (Ballistic Missile Defense System)." It also says that investments will sustain cooperative R&D programs with Israel by continuing support for the Arrow anti-missile program and for Japan's work to improve the Standard Missile 3. There are plans to upgrade the early warning radar at Fylingdales in the United Kingdom and to investigate other unnamed British R&D projects. MDA is also looking for international cooperation for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor and is awaiting the conclusions of a NATO Feasibility Study on missile defense.
MDA also announced plans to terminate the Russian-American Observation Satellite (RAMOS) program with the 2005 budget. While still expressing interest in cooperative efforts with the Russian Federation, the MDA suggested the money (around $550 million) could be better spent on missile defense cooperation projects with Russia.
*QUESTION:* Richard, Under Secretary Bolton is in Moscow. Is he discussing with them the Proliferation Security Initiative, and how important it is that Russia be part of it?
*MR. BOUCHER:* Well -- has he spoken in Moscow? Has he given some kind of rundown? I think that's the first place we ought to look. I don't have a rundown from him yet.
In general, is he talking about Proliferation Security? Yes, he's talking about that and a variety of other nonproliferation subjects that are important to us and the Russians, where we work together.
It's important to us that the Russians be informed, that the Russians contribute to nonproliferation in every way they can. I'll just leave it at that for the moment.
*QUESTION:* Well, on that, I guess, since you haven't heard back from him, you're not going to know that the Russians were cool, to say the least, to Mr. Bolton's entreaties that they sign on to the PSI. They said that the explanations that he had given to them for PSI and the legal technicalities of why it's not in violation of international law were far from satisfactory.
And I'm just wondering if you can find out from his office if this is a disappointment to the United States that the Russians would take the position, it being the only member of the G-8 not to have signed onto it, and if you're planning to continue to try to get the Russians onboard?
*MR. BOUCHER:* I donï¿½t have any comment on the Russian statements. I'm sure we'll talk to Mr. Bolton when he gets back. As far as whether we'll continue to discuss Proliferation Security Initiative with the Russians, absolutely we have talked to them about it from the start. And as it continues to evolve, we'll talk about it, continue to talk to them about it, in the context of a whole variety of measures that nations can take to reduce proliferation.
*QUESTION:* Can you check that, that you've talked to them about it from the start? Because I think one of the reasons the Russians -- this has been acknowledged by U.S. officials -- that one of the reasons the Russians are not excited about this is because they were not in on it from the start and they felt left out.
*MR. BOUCHER:* Let me -- I remember that Mr. Bolton's made several trips to Moscow, and he's discussed this several times over many months.
*QUESTION:* Yeah. But they were all after the President's May announcement.
*MR. BOUCHER:* After -- was it after Poland? Yeah, probably. So we've talked to them from an early point in the process.
*QUESTION:* Also on Russia.
*MR. BOUCHER:* Please.
*QUESTION:* There some reports that Russia is preparing for one of its most massive tests of ballistic missiles in preparation for a nuclear conflict. Do you have anything on this?
*MR. BOUCHER:* No.
*QUESTION:* It's a Russian newspaper report.
*MR. BOUCHER:* I really -- first of all, whether Russia is preparing for nuclear conflict, I think is a question you can ask the Russians.
*QUESTION:* No, it's an exercise.
*QUESTION:* It's an exercise.
*MR. BOUCHER:* An exercise. No, I'm sorry. We don't track Russian nuclear national exercises.
*QUESTION:* If it's an exercise, aren't they obliged to tell the U.S. about it?
*MR. BOUCHER:* Yeah.
*QUESTION:* Have you heard? I mean, has the U.S. heard?
*MR. BOUCHER:* I don't know. I have not heard.
*QUESTION:* I mean, if -- literally, I think. If they do it, they've got to tell you.
*MR. BOUCHER:* I'll check and see. We do have various liaison channels with the Russians on things. I'll check and see if we have any information. But I'd also suggest you might want to ask the Pentagon.
*QUESTION:* Sure. But it involves test-firing several ballistic missiles, and I think they've got to tell you.
*MR. BOUCHER:* Yeah. They make notices. We tell each other a lot --
*MR. BOUCHER:* -- of those things. Whether I'm in a position to speak for the Russians on what they're doing or not is not the question.
*MR. BOUCHER:* I know --
*QUESTION:* Just on notification will be helpful.
*MR. BOUCHER:* Well, have -- again, ask the Russians. I'll find out for you, if I can.
*MR. BOUCHER:* And you might want to check with the Pentagon to see if they've got anything over there.
DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for the technical accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.
RANSAC's Nuclear News is compiled two to three times weekly. To be automatically removed from our mailing list, click on the following link: Remove Me From The List