1. Poison, Explosives Found Before World Leaders' Visit, Russia Says
Los Angeles Times
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Authorities have recovered a cache of poisons and a truck loaded with explosives they believe were intended for use in terrorist attacks during a visit here next week by President Bush and more than 50 other world leaders, police said Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Ilya Shabalkin, spokesman for Russia's regional counter-terrorism headquarters in the North Caucasus, said the amount of liquid cyanide and another still-unidentified poison recovered during a law enforcement operation this week near the Chechen border was sufficient to kill 3,000 to 4,000 people.
"The use of these strong-acting poisons in small doses in highly populated areas, key installations and in reservoirs could have caused large numbers of victims," the Federal Security Service said.
Authorities also said they seized a large truck Thursday near Grozny, the capital of the Chechen republic, that was filled with about 2,600 pounds of explosives. Two people were detained.
In a separate incident, police attempted to arrest two women identified by an informant as potential suicide bombers who were blockaded in an abandoned house in Chechnya. The women blew themselves up during the operation, authorities said.
Shabalkin said police discovered the poison after receiving information that militants were planning "a series of terrorist acts in Chechnya and in other cities and towns of Russia, using highly poisonous substances."
Acting on the tip, officers "discovered a hidden cache which contained a serious amount of highly dangerous poisons," he said in a telephone interview.
There was no independent confirmation of the various announcements, although the counter-terrorism office released photographs of glass vials and a large truck covered with blue canvas.
On Monday, Bush and the other leaders will join about 8,000 guests in Moscow's Red Square for celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Russia has massed 30,000 police and Interior Ministry troops in the capital and plans to cut off most vehicle and subway traffic in the city center the day of the parade.
Russian air force officials said this week that the U.S. had been flying additional U-2 reconnaissance missions over the Caucasus region in preparation for Bush's visit to Moscow on Sunday and Monday and to Georgia, which borders Chechnya, on Tuesday.
Major attacks by Chechen militants, who are seeking the republic's independence from Russia, have twice marred May 9 celebrations. Most recently, Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov and six others were killed in a bombing at a Grozny sports stadium last year.
"There is not even a shadow of a doubt that terrorists will attempt to stage large-scale acts of terror somewhere in Russia during the upcoming festivities, including in Moscow itself," said Viktor Alksnis, a member of parliament and a reserve colonel in the Federal Security Service.
"If the terrorists succeed, their success will demonstrate to the whole international community that the Russian leadership is powerless to fight terrorism and is unable to ensure the ï¿½ physical safety of its own citizens and foreign VIP guests even on such a highly important national holiday," Alksnis said.
Andrei Kortunov, president of the New Eurasia Foundation in Moscow, said the focus on security in the capital left other regions of Russia more vulnerable to attack.
"As for the current declarations on the part of the security services that they already prevented some terrorist acts, it is hard to say how much of this information corresponds to reality and how much of it is intended to demonstrate how reliable, watchful and vigilant they are," he said.
Shabalkin said he could not reveal where the poison cache was found, except that it was near Chechnya's border with the neighboring Russian republic of Ingushetia.
On April 22, 1915 German forces used chemical weapons for the first time in history, thereby ushering in the era of mass-destruction weapons.
Eight years ago, the International Convention on Prohibiting Chemical Weapons, their development, production, stockpiling and use entered into force on April 29, 1997. The document also stipulates their complete destruction.
Below RIA Novosti military commentator Viktor Litovkin talks with Viktor Kholstov, the deputy director of the Federal Industrial Agency, about how Russia is honoring its commitments to destroy its chemical weapons arsenals.
Question: Mr. Kholstov, what has Russia done to implement the Convention in the last eight years?
Answer: In line with the Convention a Federal target program on destroying chemical weapons arsenals in the Russian Federation was drafted. We had to destroy 1%, or 400 metric tons, of our chemical weapons by April 29, 2003. This first and main stage of implementing the Convention has been completed in full.
By late April, 2005, 863.6 metric tons of toxic substances - 622.3 tons of mustard gas (yperite) and 241.3 tons of lewisite - had been destroyed at an operational facility in Gorny township, the Saratov region. Yperite-lewisite mixtures remain. All the arsenals will be destroyed completely at this facility by the end of the year.
This country has 24 officially registered facilities that once produced chemical weapons. Of this number, eight facilities must be destroyed completely and we have destroyed seven facilities to date. The last one will be shut down by April 29, 2007. All the remaining facilities will start producing civilian goods in line with our commitments. Twelve of them have already received commercial-production certificates. And the remaining four are currently going through the approval process.
Q.: Do you mean international certificates?
A.: Of course. These are certificates issued by the technical secretariat of the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. All the work is proceeding under strict international control.
Q.: Chemical weapons will not be destroyed at the Gorny facility alone. Russia stockpiled 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons. And we must destroy 20% (8,000 tons) by April 29, 2007. What chances does the country have of meeting this deadline?
A.: Today, we must create the required industrial base for implementing the Convention's second stage to destroy 8,000 tons of chemical weapons. We will finish building a lewisite-disposal facility in Kambarka, the Udmurtia republic. That facility will eliminate 6,400 tons of lewisite stored there. Another facility is located in Maradykovsky township, the Kirov region. A facility there for detoxicating chemical warheads should be ready by late 2005. We plan to detoxicate another 4,300 tons of chemical weapons, VX gases, by April 29, 2007. That will give us more than 8,000 tons by April 2007.
Q.: What does the detoxication process mean?
A.: Each chemical weapon's warhead is opened and a detoxicant poured inside, rendering all chemical substances harmless. This process has already been tested on the required number of warheads. We will use this process on VX-gas munitions.
Q.: If I understand you correctly, these munitions will be safe after detoxication.
A.: Yes, toxic substances will disintegrate into harmless components that have nothing to do with chemical weapons. Nonetheless, these substances will be destroyed during the next stage. And each warhead will be melted down.
Q.: The United States pledged to finance construction of the Shchuchye facility's first stage. However, Washington has not allocated even one cent over the last three years. What is happening there today?
A.: You're quite right. We planned to commission that facility's first stage in 2005. The U.S. undertook to finance most of this industrial zone's construction, but the issue became politicized, and the U.S. administration cut off financing between 1999 and 2002. Naturally, we were forced to revise our deadlines for commissioning this facility. Nonetheless, the incumbent U.S. administration is displaying a more constructive approach toward its commitments on helping Russia destroy its chemical weapons.
We and our partners coordinated another construction schedule in mid-2004. The Shchuchye facility is to be completed in mid-2008. I think this is a major success. In my opinion, we will destroy all the toxic substances on time, if Washington honors its commitments.
Q.: Could you say a few more words about U.S. financial aid? As far as I remember, the U.S. promised $888 million for the Shchuchye facility. And how much have the builders received?
A.: This is a very sensitive issue. The U.S. did promise $888 million and planned to increase this sum later. As you know, Russia has not received all the required money. Our partners start mentioning different calculation methods, when we begin to discuss this issue. We suggest using their methodology. The government, the president and journalists want to know where the money is. But we cannot say for sure. The U.S. promised to provide us with accurate information coordinated at every level, meaning it would then be possible to specify these appropriations.
I would like to note the most important aspect. The builders receive enough money in line with coordinated timeframes, thereby fulfilling their commitments. And this is the most important thing.
Q.: Sergei Kiriyenko, chairman of the state commission for destroying chemical weapons, has repeatedly said that Russia gets no more than 20% of the scheduled U.S. appropriations. Is this really the case?
A.: I have heard these statements. And this is the case. These are our estimates about which we have informed out partners. They promised that the figure would increase to 40% to 45%. The U.S. partners explain these small appropriations by high administrative expenses, business-trip expenses, etc.
I would like to note that the Global Partnership program plays a very important part in the international cooperation that was launched after the 2002 G8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada. I can now say that our chemical weapons disposal program has started receiving additional international aid, although the situation is not as good as one would like.
Q.: Does Germany provide most of this aid?
A.: Yes, the Germans became our most reliable partners. We commissioned the facility in Gorny with German assistance. This enabled us to fulfil the first stage of our commitments under the Convention. Germany is now helping us to build the Kambarka facility. We are using German money to build the thermal-processing shop. Moreover, Germany is studying the possibility of building some other facilities in Leonidovka and Maradykovsky. In other words, German aid is quite tangible. We would like to thank our German partners, as well as all other countries and international organizations, for helping us destroy chemical weapons.
The World War II Allies defeated a common foe by harnessing two apparently conflicting forces: international cooperation and national self-interest. As world leaders gather in Moscow to commemorate the victory over Nazism, they should apply this lesson to repair a dysfunctional relationship.
Three years ago, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir V. Putin began the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, seeking to devote $20 billion over 10 years to dismantle many of the world's most dangerous weapons. The partnership is under the aegis of the Group of Eight, or G-8 - the major industrial democracies plus Russia - and 13 other countries are involved.
But the partnership has reached an impasse. It is short of the funding goal. It has not spent enough of the money that already has been raised on dismantlement. And, alarmingly, it has yet to formulate a prioritized plan for tackling the deadliest threats in the shortest period of time.
Instead of the usual routine of rounding up donors to make general contributions, the partnership can gain more by exploiting selfish giving. That is, tie a nation's commercial interests and feelings of insecurity from particular threats to specific contributions.
To some extent, this is happening. Fear of chemical warfare on the Korean Peninsula has sparked South Korea to meet its obligations to dismantle its chemical weapons and to think creatively about how to dismantle North Korea's chemical weapons. Concern about decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines polluting the Barents Sea - prime Norwegian fishing grounds - has convinced Norway to contribute more than $30 million to clean up Russian nuclear waste.
But this matchmaking can be conducted more systematically. The greatest unmet needs are in Russia, where there are hundreds of tons of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium in need of disposal and massive stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons that must be dismantled. The existing Russian uranium could fuel about 10,000 crude nuclear bombs - a type of weapon that some terrorist groups could build.
Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin should undertake a personal diplomacy campaign to meet with their counterparts in the partnership to address these urgent needs.
Japan and China should have an interest in disposing of Russian uranium. Converting it to nuclear fuel can provide substantial energy for electricity generation. In fact, half of the electricity produced by nuclear reactors in the United States comes from Russian uranium.
Japan remains strongly committed to nuclear power and wants to ensure its energy security because it lacks significant natural resources. But it has not invested in disposing of weapons-grade uranium.
Similarly, China has ambitious plans to expand its commercial nuclear power program. But China has stayed outside the partnership. As the world's most populous nation, with a fast-growing economy and a stated commitment to nuclear disarmament, China should join this partnership to support its own - and the world's - vested interests.
Russia has the largest stockpile of chemical weapons - about 40,000 tons - but lags behind all other nations in dismantling this arsenal. Unlike disposition of highly enriched uranium, dismantlement of chemical weapons does not have a direct commercial payback. Nonetheless, many nations have pledged money to help destroy Russian chemical weapons. But the pledged amounts fall far short of the more than several billion dollars in estimated cost.
A major barrier to rapidly destroying Russia's chemical weapons is the inadequate number of disposal facilities. Given the current rate of disposal facility construction and international assistance, Russia will not meet the 2012 Chemical Weapons Convention deadline for chemical weapons destruction. Britain, Canada and Germany, in particular, have been pushing for greater progress in building the needed disposal facilities.
Britain should also develop a targeted marketing campaign that would identify new donors that have a specific interest in chemical and biological weapons destruction and persuade current contributors to increase their giving.
Leaders of these nations could lobby their constituents to support increased contributions by recalling past experience with the horrors of these weapons. For example, France has donated about $12 million to chemical weapons dismantlement in Russia, but the French public would likely support an even greater donation if they were reminded of chemical weapons use during World War I.
Ideally, countries would make charitable contributions without expecting commercial or psychological benefits. But let's not fight human nature. Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin should find creative ways to meld cooperative efforts with selfish giving.
Richard Lugar is a senior statesman with a manner so dry and cautious that when he ran for president in 1996, crowds couldn't tell if he was delivering a stump speech or a civics lecture. But there's one subject that really riles the Indiana senator: nuclear proliferation. Lugar has long championed the $1 billion Nunn-Lugar threat-reduction program, which he created with the then Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn in 1991 to dispose of old Soviet weapons of mass destruction and fissile material. He has repeatedly urged that the Bush administration make Nunn-Lugar a priority to keep WMD from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Yet for several years, the disposal of Russia's 134-ton hoard of plutonium has been stymied by an obscure legal issue. Washington has sought to free U.S. contractors of any liability for nuclear contamination during cleanup. The holdup has angered Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his associates say. And government sources tell NEWSWEEK that the official mainly responsible for failing to negotiate a way out is John Bolton, the controversial under secretary of State nominated by President George W. Bush to be U.N. ambassador.
The irony is that Lugar has been pressed into the role of Bolton's No. 1 champion. Democrats on Lugar's committee, incensed over delays in getting secret intercepts and other documents used by Bolton, are threatening to further push backthis week's vote. Bolton may yet win GOP support, but the liability dispute illustrates how thin his backing is, even among some Republicans. Lugar has not allowed his personal feelings to affect his support of Bolton as the president's U.N. choice, says spokesman Andy Fisher. But he has been "definitely frustrated" by the deadlock, Fisher concedes. In June 2004, Lugar endorsed a public attack on Bolton by his fellow Republican, Sen. Pete Domenici, who said Bolton bore "a very heavy responsibility" for the festering plutonium issue.
Bolton has taken a stance so uncompromising that even U.S. contractors want a softer approach, U.S. government sources say. Bolton has insisted that the Russian government continue to guarantee coverage for every potential liability for U.S. cleanup contractors, even for a deliberate act of spilling nuclear material. But U.S. industry "would like to see the standard [commercial] type of nuclear-liability protection," says Charles Peterson, a legal expert who deals with the contractors. In early 2004, Bolton quashed a compromise plan by his own nonproliferation bureau, even after other agencies had approved it, says a former State official. State Department spokesman Tom Casey insisted, however, that Bolton's hard-line views have not been the main problem. "The Pentagon has been the hang-up all this time," he said.
Domenici told NEWSWEEK that since Bolton's nomination was announced in March, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has personally intervened to try to resolve the issue, and could, perhaps as soon as Bush's Moscow trip this week. "It took too long," says Domenici. He also indicated that he, like Lugar, is reluctantly supporting Bolton.
Efforts by Washington and Moscow to prevent Russian nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists remain slowed by bureaucratic red tape and a lack of urgency, according to a new report released yesterday by a research group affiliated with Harvard University.
In fiscal year 2004, U.S.-funded work to secure and account for Russian material that could be used in nuclear weapons was completed for only 4 percent of it, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which was founded by Ted Turner and former senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and is sponsored by Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. That raised the total secured to 26 percent, the group said.
Despite some heightened security procedures, many Russian nuclear research sites still frequently have doors propped open for convenience, intrusion sensors turned off because of false alarms and guards patrolling with unloaded weapons, the report said.
"On-the-ground progress in securing, consolidating and eliminating nuclear stockpiles in the last year remained slow, when compared to the urgency of the threat," according to the report. "Action from the highest levels [of the U.S. and Russian governments] is needed because difficult bureaucratic and political impediments persist."
Many terrorism experts say al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have focused for years on lightly secured nuclear facilities in Russia and other states in the former Soviet Union as potential sources for equipment and material needed to assemble an atomic weapon. The commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks recommended that U.S. officials undertake a "maximum effort" to place Russian nuclear equipment off-limits to terrorists.
The threat initiative study noted that considerable progress is being made in Russia. Starting with President Vladimir Putin, many Russian leaders now see the extraordinary danger posed by inadequately secured nuclear materials and weapons, it said.
But serious problems persist, according to the report. In March, the commander of Interior Ministry troops for Moscow said that seven key facilities there had functioning security equipment, while 39 had "serious shortcomings." He added that half the perimeters of these restricted sites lacked fences, the report said.
It also said that Russian security agencies must redouble security at nuclear sites in light of the ferocity of some recent terrorist attacks in Russia, such as the assault on a school in Beslan that killed at least 330 people, many of them children. The 32 Chechen attackers had obtained their weapons in an earlier attack on an Interior Ministry arms depot that involved 200 assailants dressed in military uniforms. A few months later, 47 men seized control of a nonnuclear military site north of Moscow filled with secret documents before troops expelled them.
The report also cited the case of a Russian businessman who in 2003 offered $750,000 to employees at a top Russian nuclear arms laboratory in exchange for stolen weapons-grade plutonium intended for a foreign buyer.
"We have no basis for confidence that there are people in the Russian [nuclear] system who wouldn't be tempted by $750,000," said Matthew Bunn, co-author of the report.
The study released yesterday was the latest of the group's examinations of global efforts to keep nuclear weapons and materials out of the hands of terrorists and criminal groups. The initiative recently cited official U.S. government data to show that Russian nuclear security upgrades in the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks were about the same as in the two years afterward.
The report noted several encouraging developments in global nuclear security, including U.N. action that would legally obligate nations to account for atomic stockpiles; stepped-up attention to the effort by the U.S. Energy Department; and a summit in Slovakia in February where President Bush and Putin agreed to extend cooperation on this front.
The Bush administration is proposing to spend $982 million to secure nuclear materials around the world, a 22 percent increase over the previous year's budget.
"The good news is that we are making progress," said Nunn, the threat initiative's co-chairman. "The bad news is that we're doing too little and moving much too slowly. . . . The job of securing dangerous materials in Russia itself is about one-half done."
3. Some See Intrigue to Stop US-Russian Nuclear Cooperation
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Duma Defense Committee Deputy Chairman Aleksei Arbatov (Yabloko), who also directs the International Security Center of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, told TV-Tsentr on 5 May that Adamov's arrest might be inspired by opponents of U.S.-Russian nuclear-security cooperation. Both sides have put much work into the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program in recent years and there is even more to be done, he said. Arbatov added that the United States is planning to spend another $10 billion to support Russian nuclear safety, while the European Union is to provide a further $10 billion. But in the United States there are elements that are against giving this money to Russia and they could be behind this incident, he said. Meanwhile, Konstantin Simonov, the director of the Center for Political Forecasting, said on 5 May that Adamov's arrest is an episode in U.S.-Russian competition in nuclear security control and an effort to show that the Russian nuclear sector is controlled by dishonest people, RIA-Novosti reported.
4. Inspections Are a Very Sensitive Issue For the U.S. and Russia
Defense and Security/Gazeta
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A conference focusing on Russian-American dialogue took place in Moscow last week. It was closed to the media, and organized by the Nixon Center (Washington) and the Defense and Foreign Policy Council (Moscow). The topic of terrorist threats to nuclear facilities was discussed: in other words, the issues which have been a topic of discussion for state officials from both countries, while remaining a mystery for ordinary citizens. Dimitri K. Simes, president of the Nixon Center, sets out his impression of the debates over the agreements reached by President Bush and President Putin in Bratislava - debates that broke out with renewed force following the Moscow visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Question: In what form were the documents resulting from the Bush-Putin Bratislava summit presented to the political class of the United States?
Dimitri Simes: There were many agreements in Bratislava. But the presidents didn't sign a treaty, since a treaty requires Senate approval.
Question: Condoleezza Rice came to Moscow, had dinner with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, and told Echo of Moscow Radio that they had made some progress on the inspections issue. But Ivanov denied that the topic had been discussed at all.
Dimitri Simes: Discussions and agreements are different things, and they obviously didn't reach a complete agreement. They clearly did discuss the issue of American access to Russian nuclear facilities. Apparently, they did not reach the full and unambiguous understanding required for signing an agreement. This is the stage of clarification and specification.
Question: If this agreement does eventually become a treaty, will it be made public?
Dimitri Simes: I think it will be set down in writing at some stage. This is a very sensitive issue for both sides.
It would be odd if the United States wasn't concerned about the possibility of nuclear materials disappearing from Russian bases. And on Russia's part there is the sense that this is the holy of holies - the inner sanctum where no foreigners are permitted access, since this is a matter of fundamental sovereignty. In between these two natural desires, there is the attempt to find a compromise. At every stage, each side interprets this attempt in what it considers to be the optimal way.
Question: The idea that nuclear materials are disappearing from Russian bases and reaching the resistance fighters in Chechnya was first expressed by Boris Berezovsky, shortly before the Bush-Putin summit in Bratislava. It was even discussed on Radio Liberty.
Dimitri Simes: I very much doubt that official US government bodies would rely on any information supplied by Berezovsky, who has said a great deal about numerous issues. All the same, Berezovsky is a significant figure, with contacts of his own. When he speaks, people listen. This is a fragment of a large stream of information that is being verified. No one at any serious level is meeting with Berezovsky.
Question: Let's get back to the issue of Russia's sovereignty. Condoleezza Rice herself let slip that in her view, inspecting nuclear facilities does not infringe on Russia's sovereignty. But if she is aiming to reach some agreements, why is she speaking publicly about a topic which is so sensitive that even its existence is being denied?
Dimitri Simes: The suspicions concern unofficial, corrupt leaks of nuclear materials. The Americans would like to know as much as possible. My impression is that the Russians would like to be understanding about these concerns, as long as sovereignty is preserved. If our partnership has any real meaning at all, the question of averting mass murcer must be a priority for both sides.
Working interpretations permit various degrees of understanding - and we are having such a discussion about the possibilities for access to nuclear storehouses. It's probably normal for each side to have its own interpretations. If they were exactly the same, we probably would have signed a treaty already. I wouldn't start setting up a universal problem where none exists.
1. Russia Plans to Destroy About 4,000 Nuclear Warheads in Next Seven Years
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Colonel General Nikolay Solovtsov, commander of the Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN), yesterday outlined for journalists the immediate and long-term future for the RVSN's development.
The picture was not brilliant, but it was as a whole promising. What minus points do we have? In the eight remaining months of 2005 nine obsolete combat missile systems will be removed from combat service and send to be recycled. And in all in the next five years one or two missile divisions will be cut every year: Only in this way will Russia be able to reach the parameters set by international agreements.
First on the list for sequestration is the Kostroma division of combat rail systems and the Kartala formation of launch silos -- the RVSN will lose them in 2006. "Under the strategic offensive potential treaty, by 2012 we must have 1,700-2,200 nuclear warheads in our nuclear arsenal. At present we have about 6,000," the general specified. Now about the plus points. The commander promised that the first mobile Topol-M road-mobile missile complex will go on combat duty after the New Year. It will be deployed in the settlement of Teykovo, Ivanovo Oblast.
At the same time a more sophisticated missile will start to reach the troops. This formidable weapon was designed at the Moscow Institute of Heat Technology. Solovtsov recalled that the institute is the focal point for cooperation between about 500 enterprises. "The RVSN also has in combat service liquid-propellant ICBM's developed by the Yefremov design bureau. As of today we see no monopoly as such on the development of missile technology in Russia and we have no fears on this matter," the commander admitted.
He continued by mentioning the "Voyevoda" heavy missile which is being produced at the Ukrainian Yuzhnoye design bureau and which will remain in service with the RVSN through 2016. It emerged that today Russia has the production potential to create its own missiles of this class. And in the long term the RVSN's Orenburg division's launch site could be used to launch them.
The commander said that it will have a dual function as a mini-cosmodrome and as a combat position. The potential for using Voyevoda type ballistic missiles for launching spacecraft was verified 22 December 2004. The launch results made it possible to adopt in 2005 a series of major decisions on improving heavy missiles, including for commercial purposes of benefit to Russia.
The commander had to give explanations regarding potential inspections of our nuclear establishments by foreign specialists. Russia and the United States have long been cooperating with regard to reciprocal monitoring, the general remarked. This cooperation is mainly in the field of reciprocal monitoring of the activity of missile troops -- or to be more precise of the number of missiles and launchers.
At the same time Solovtsov made it clear that in neither the immediate nor the remote future does Russia have any intention of allowing the Americans to monitor its nuclear weapon stockpiles.
President George W. Bush's visit to Latvia, Russia and the Republic of Georgia underscores how much the geopolitical landscape changed 13 years after the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
In Riga, Mr. Bush will address leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These are America's new allies -- members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They are also members of the European Union. Russia is an ex-rival and a strategic partner, a vague term indeed. Georgia (and neighboring Azerbaijan) are emerging allies.
In Riga, Mr. Bush should avoid new dividing lines in Europe, but call for recognition of Latvian and Estonian borders by Russia and the signing of a peace treaty. The president should also tell people of the Baltic States that their well-earned and much-deserved freedom should not be dishonored by occasional expressions of sympathy to Nazis or by discriminatory measures against the Russian population.
Mr. Bush should also acknowledge our new allies' great achievements in making the transition to democracy and market economy and integration into NATO. He should remember a new generation has come of age, which did not suffer from Soviet occupation and is not as pro-American as its parents. The president should remind these young people the U.S. supported Baltic independence and never recognized Soviet annexation. The task now is to keep these young people friends of America.
Presidential challenges in Russia are different. He should address Russia's people through press conferences and in the meeting with democracy activists.
He should acknowledge the great sacrifices of the peoples of Russia and the former Soviet Union in World War Two -- a topic most dear to every Russian's heart. Josef Stalin no doubt enabled Adolf Hitler to start the war, and the Soviet regime then was as bloodthirsty as the Nazis. Stalin also destroyed the top Soviet generals and was criminally negligent and oblivious to the coming Nazi attack -- Operation Barbarossa, which started in June 1941. In it, millions of Soviet soldiers were surrounded and whole field armies destroyed.
It was, however, the blood and heroism of Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, Georgians and others who stopped the Nazi war machine. Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk broke the backbone of the Wehrmacht. The strategic gifts of Marshal Georgi Zhukov helped a lot. Still, Soviets lost 25 million sons and daughters.
Mr. Bush can also remind his audience that the victories of the Red Army were due to a large degree to Franklin D. Roosevelt's "lend-lease" program: Studebaker trucks, Cobra fighter planes, SPAM and GI boots.
Today, the president should say, the United States and Russia face a new enemy: implacable Islamist terrorism coveting weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In talks with Mr. Putin, Mr. Bush should advance joint anti-proliferation efforts, such as the Nunn-Lugar program worth up to $1 billion a year aimed at securing and destroying the creaky Russian WMD arsenal and related materials.
The United States and Russia should work on ways to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. While Tehran can hit Russian soil, it still lacks the missile capability to strike the U.S. The two leaders should also discuss the future challenges U.S. and Russia may face from assertive and resource-hungry China.
The president should extend a helping hand to the Russian people. America can help address Russia's catastrophic social trends: an HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis epidemics and a male life expectancy of 58-59 years -- behind that of Egypt.
Russia suffers from a wave of alcoholism, drugs and related illnesses, and the abortion rate remains among the highest in the world. This is not about geopolitics, it is about helping Russians lead healthier, happier lives.
In meeting with Russia's democracy activists, President Bush should explain why America promotes democracy around the world. Without stentorian lectures, Mr. Bush should explain why smooth and bloodless transition from one power elite to another benefits Russia, why free media helps fight corruption, why transparency and the rule of law attract foreign investment. If Russia wants to modernize, it needs to liberalize. It is in the Russian national interest to be free. The United States can help -- if the Russians want it to.
Finally, a speech at the Independence Square in Tbilisi is a great opportunity to look into the future. Mr. Bush should acknowledge Georgia's accomplishments in its Rose Revolution, a bloodless pro-democracy power change. He should express America's -- and the world's -- firm hope that Georgia will remain on the democratic path and its territorial integrity and sovereignty be restored. U.S. should support return of secessionist Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Georgia's fold, and withdrawal of Russian military bases from Georgian soil.
Further, President Bush should demand the end to "frozen conflicts" between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh and in Transnistria in Moldova. These conflicts lasted too long, and make everyone miserable and unable to economically develop.
Finally, the president should express our hope the right will be respected of the region's peoples -- from Belarus to Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan -- to elect their leaders. Tbilisi will be a terrific place to launch a new campaign for a better future in the former Soviet area, a future where dignity, the rule of law, civil society, economic development and freedom prevail.
2. Russian-American Relations Are Not Subject to Short-Term Political Considerations
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Struggle against international terrorism and joint non-proliferation moves will feature largely in negotiations between Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and George W. Bush of the U.S., a source in the Kremlin told RIA Novosti ahead of a meeting of the presidents.
"We adhere to the fundamental common position that it is inadmissible for non-nuclear states to acquire the possibility of producing nuclear weapons, which, of course, must not mean a ban on the development of peaceful nuclear technologies in accordance with international regimes," the source said, indirectly indicating that Moscow's position on Iran's nuclear programs remains unchanged.
The source said that Moscow expects that in pursuit of the understandings reached at the last summit of the Russian and U.S. presidents in the Slovak capital Bratislava the sides would continue to expand the Russian-American partnership.
"The idea is to examine the implementation of tasks set, bearing in mind the creation of such a margin of safety in Russian-American relations that would guarantee their ability to reliably withstand the test of time and loads imposed by short-term political considerations," the source said.
He recalled that ahead of their Moscow meeting the Russian and U.S. presidents had issued a joint statement in honor of the 60th anniversary of the meeting of Soviet and American troops on the Elbe River in Germany.
"The handshake which soldiers of our armies exchanged in the victorious year 1945 is deeply symbolical and has special significance today as evidence of the continuity of the allied relations of Russia and the U.S., which are jointly countering international terrorism and other global challenges and threats," the source said.
It is believed in the Kremlin that the efforts to harmonize the positions of Russia and the U.S. on Russia joining the WTO will require an additional impulse at the highest level.
"In Bratislava the presidents agreed that the aim is for Russia to joint the WTO this year," the source recalled.
"The positions are being actively and mutually agreed, but there is still a great deal to be done. Evidently an additional impulse will be required at the top level to keep to schedule," the agency's source indicated.
The Kremlin spokesman again said that Moscow did not accept demands going beyond standard WTO rules.
"We will join the organization on terms not infringing on our legitimate interests," the source emphasized.
3. Adamov Extradition to U.S. May Take At Least Six Months
(for personal use only)
The extradition of Russia's former atomic energy minister, Yevgeny Adamov, currently in jail in Switzerland, to the US may take at least six months, said Erwin Jenni, the extradition chief of the Swiss justice department.
Switzerland notified the US of Adamov's arrest on May 2 after the ex-minister was detained in Bern, said Jenni. Now the US has 40-60 days to file an official request containing evidence that the charges against Adamov are equally qualified in the US and Swiss criminal laws.
Adamov was offered a simplified procedure for extradition to the US where he is accused of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. He refused voluntary extradition Wednesday.
However, he still has time to change his mind and agree to extradition out of court before the US files the official request, said Jenni.
Otherwise, the Swiss federal department of justice will be deciding on his extradition.
The Swiss law sets no deadline for such a decision.
If the department rules in favor of his extradition, Adamov's lawyers will have 30 days to appeal against the decision in the federal court of Switzerland, which will have the final say. The court proceedings may take a few months, usually two-three. Jenni said the whole extradition procedure might take at least six months.
If the federal court decides to extradite Adamov, the US attorneys will have another 30 days to send their law-enforcement officers to Switzerland to deliver Adamov to the US.
Adamov who headed Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry in 1998-2001, was detained in Bern, Switzerland, on May 2 at the request of the US Department of Justice.
4. Calls to Return Ex-Minister Who Was Privy to State Secrets
The St. Petersburg Times
(for personal use only)
Yevgeny Adamov, the former nuclear power minister arrested in Switzerland at the request of U.S. prosecutors Monday, should be returned to Russia to protect the state secrets he knows relating to nuclear power technologies, Adamov's lawyer and lawmakers said Thursday.
"I think at present the Russian Foreign Ministry is making every effort to regulate this issue, given the fact that we are not just talking about a citizen of Russia but a person who controls huge secrets in nuclear power," lawyer Timofei Gridnev told Ekho Moskvy radio.
Adamov faces extradition to the United States on charges of fraud and money laundering. U.S. prosecutors suspect Adamov of diverting some $9 million in U.S. aid earmarked for improving safety at Russia's nuclear facilities into U.S.-based companies he controls. Adamov was dismissed as nuclear power minister in 2001 amid a storm of allegations that he had received kickbacks through his U.S. companies.
Gridnev said that Adamov is maintaining his innocence of the charges. Adamov contested the extradition Wednesday, meaning that U.S. prosecutors have 40 days to file a formal extradition request.
State Duma Deputy Nikolai Kovalyov, a former director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, said Thursday that Adamov should not have been allowed to travel abroad, citing the rule that officials can be barred from making foreign trips for five years after being exposed to state secrets.
"Given that five years have not yet passed since his dismissal and that he still works at the Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering [NIKIET], the travel ban is still valid for him," Kovalyov said, Interfax reported.
Before his appointment as minister in 1998 Adamov headed NIKIET, which designs nuclear reactors. After his dismissal, he returned to the institute as its head of research.
Dmitry Rogozin, leader of the nationalist Rodina party, said that the government should demand the Swiss authorities immediately hand over Adamov to Russian law enforcement agencies.
"This is outrageous, it is unclear why the government has not yet demanded his extradition to Russia," Rogozin said, Interfax reported.
"As a minister with access to the holy of holies, Russia's nuclear security, Adamov is the bearer of important state secrets and his trips outside Russia must be strictly regulated by law and his personal obligations," Rogozin said.
Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov, commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, doubted whether Adamov was well informed about state secrets relating to strategic missiles.
"As far as the missile forces are concerned, I think that Adamov is not valuable," Solovtsov told Interfax.
Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Adamov's arrest was an extreme and unnecessary measure that could have been avoided.
"Theoretically, such measures are possible, they do not contradict international laws. In high-profile cases such as this one there is always the element of an underlying political cause," Kosachyov said, Interfax reported.
Kovalyov said that in 2001, as head of the Duma's anti-corruption commission, he had written to President Vladimir Putin and the Cabinet about Adamov's continued business activities after becoming a minister. Kovalyov said he received no answer to his letter, but Adamov was fired soon afterward.
Former Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov has been arrested in Switzerland and faces extradition to the United States on fraud and money-laundering charges, Swiss officials said Wednesday.
Swiss Justice and Police Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said Wednesday by telephone from Bern that the U.S. sought Adamov on charges of diverting some $9 million in funds that the Energy Department provided to improve safety at Russian nuclear facilities. U.S. prosecutors believe Adamov invested the money into various projects and diverted the rest to U.S.-based companies he controls, Galli said.
Among the companies that Adamov controls is Omeka, a consulting firm registered in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Justice Department obtained the arrest warrant for Adamov from the district of Pennsylvania that includes Monroeville.
The United States has been investigating Adamov's activities for years.
Gridnev said Adamov knew about the investigation but did not expect to be arrested in Bern because he has traveled extensively in recent years and faced no problems.
"He was aware of the probe, but he considered and considers himself innocent, and he could not imagine that such radical steps would be taken against him," Gridnev said by telephone.
Adamov headed the Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering, or NIKIET, which designs nuclear reactors, from 1986 to 1999, and he returned to the institute as its head of research after leaving the government. The United States slapped sanctions on NIKIET in 1999 for its work with Iran, barring it from doing business with American companies.
President Vladimir Putin fired Adamov in 2001 amid a storm of corruption allegations that he had received kickbacks through his U.S. companies.
5. U.S. Charges Ex-Russian Minister of Diverting Funds
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Russia's former atomic energy minister and a nuclear engineer were charged with converting at least $9 million (4.73 million pounds) in funds earmarked for nuclear safety projects in Russia into personal assets, court documents showed on Thursday.
Yevgeny Adamov, 65, the former minister who was detained in Switzerland at the Americans' request on Monday, and Mark Kaushansky -- a former Westinghouse Electric Corp nuclear power plant engineer -- were charged in a 20-count indictment.
The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, charged Adamov and Kaushansky with transferring stolen money and securities, money laundering, tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Adamov, who was detained while in Switzerland for a court case related to his daughter's bank accounts, told a Swiss court on Wednesday he planned to fight a U.S. request for his extradition.
The U.S. government must present a formal extradition request, after which a Swiss court will decide what to do with him.
Kaushansky, a Soviet-born, naturalised American, was due to appear in federal court in Pittsburgh "in the near future," the U.S. attorney said.
If convicted of the charges, which accuse the men of conspiracies that occurred between 1993 to 2003, Kaushansky faces a maximum of 180 years in prison and Adamov faces a possible sentence of 60 years.
The money the U.S. government accuses Adamov and Kaushansky of stealing was meant to be used to boost security at dozens of nuclear sites scattered across Russia.
The indictment said Adamov and Kaushansky deposited more than $15 million in funds provided by the United States and other countries for the safety projects into the accounts of corporations the men set up in Pittsburgh and in Delaware.
It said Adamov and Kaushansky then converted at least $9 million of the funds into personal assets, mainly using shell investment companies -- Omeka Ltd. and Aglosky International -- which had accounts in the United States, Monaco and France.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of proceeds held in bank accounts in Monaco.
Adamov's lawyer in Washington, Lanny Breuer, said on Wednesday that Adamov would fight the charges.
He said Adamov admitted depositing the money in personal accounts, but said his client paid for the scientists and security programs from his own accounts in Russia.
Breuer said Adamov was only doing what was normal in Russia -- he kept dollar accounts outside the country and spent money from accounts inside to avoid "hypertaxation and problems with organised crime."
He said Adamov had urged U.S. investigators to visit Russia to confirm that the money had been spent as expected. But they did not go.
Adamov was a minister under Russian President Boris Yeltsin but was ousted by Vladimir Putin, who came to power in 2000 vowing to fight corruption. Adamov was discharged from his position after a probe into his ties to Russian businessmen.
1. Iran Distances Itself From Scandal Surrounding Russia's Ex-Nuclear Energy Minister
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The arrest in Switzerland earlier this week of former Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Sergei Adamov has nothing to do with cooperation between Russia and Iran in nuclear engineering, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi has said in a statement.
"Russo-Iranian cooperation in the nuclear sector is fully transparent in nature, and is done within the framework of international rules and regulations," Assefi told a news conference Sunday. He assured the press that in Iraq's nuclear projects, there had not been a single deviation from the peaceful vector.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry's statement comes after reports by Western news media that the United States was demanding Adamov's extradition allegedly to interrogate him on Iran's nuclear programs (it will be remembered that Washington suspects Tehran of developing nuclear weapons). The ministry spokesman dismissed the reports as groundless rumors.
Russian specialists are completing the construction in Iran of the first reactor for the Bushehr nuclear power plant; it is to be commissioned in 2006.
Adamov, 65, who was Russia's Nuclear Energy Minister in 1998 through 2001, was detained in Bern on May 2. The arrest warrant had been issued by a Pennsylvania district court. The man is currently in Swiss custody pending extradition. It is known that Adamov actively lobbied for the "Bushehr project."
American authorities have charged Adamov and a business associate of his, U.S. national Mark Kaushanski, with misappropriation of $9 million granted by the U.S. Energy Department for the improvement of Russia's nuclear security systems. If convicted, Adamov will face a prison sentence of up to 60 years and a $1.75 million fine. The Russian ex-minister denies any wrongdoing.
2. Putin Calls Not to Deprive Iran of Possibility to Use Nuclear Technologies
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin has urged the international community not to deprive Iran of the possibility to use nuclear technologies.
"We cannot and must not deprive the Iranian people of the possibility to use modern technologies and the achievements of science and technology," the Russian President said in an interview with France 3 TV channel.
At the same time, he believes that it is also necessary to take into account the geopolitical position of Iran and its relations with other countries.
"That is why, we are urging Iran to place all its programs under full control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We consider as right the decision to freeze any work over the creation of the nuclear cycle technology, i.e. the technology for uranium enrichment, which could lead to the creation of weapons-grade nuclear fuel," Vladimir Putin said.
According to him, in this sense, Russia is cooperating very actively with its European partners and the USA.
Putin confirmed that the Russian-Iranian cooperation was "under the tough international control and the control of the IAEA," and involved exclusively a nuclear program for peaceful purposes.
Putin's interview with France 3 was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Victory in World War II. On the eve of that date, the President of Russia gave an unprecedented series of numerous interviews to foreign mass media and answered a total of 120 questions.
1. India, Russia Agree to Expand Nuclear Energy Cooperation
Press Trust of India
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Cementing their strategic ties, Russia today expressed its readiness to further expand cooperation with India in civilian nuclear energy, defence and space as the two sides decided to set up a study group to examine the feasibility of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement. At a meeting lasting more than the scheduled 30 minutes with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Vladimir Putin expressed Moscow's willingness to look into issues of civilian nuclear energy cooperation with India, including the supply of nuclear fuel for Tarapore plant and new nuclear power reactors. During the talks, held in a very warm and cordial atmosphere, "Putin agreed to look into these issues after the festivities of the 60th anniversary of Nazi defeat were over," National Security Advisor M K Narayanan told reporters here after the meeting. Russia is helping India in the construction of Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu under a deal signed in 1985 by then Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and erstwhile Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. However, after the break up of the USSR, Russia joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which bans it from selling civilian nuclear technology to non-signatories of the NPT, including India.
The Prime Minister apprised Putin of India's non-proliferation efforts and plans for the adoption of non-proliferation bill by the Indian Parliament soon. Singh expressed happiness and appreciated the support given by Russia for the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Narayanan said cooperation in space-related activities also figured in the discussions and the fact that the agreement on Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONAS) have been signed showed that "we are working further to enhance cooperation in this sector." "As our economic relations do not mirror our strategic partnership, the Prime Minister has proposed to set up a Joint Working Group to study the feasibility of an Indo-Russian economic cooperation agreement," Narayanan said, adding it was immediately accepted by Putin. The two leaders felt that the economic cooperation between the two countries was not in keeping with their strategic relationship, he said. In the "win-win" discussions, Putin assured Singh that Russia has "always stood by India and will always stand by India," Narayanan said. Putin on more than one occasion has emphaised that all issues between India and Russia would be addressed in the spirit of the special relations that existed between the two countries, he said.
Putin said "in terms of expanding our trade and economic cooperation, you will probably agree that the level of our bilateral trade does not live upto possibilities that Russia and India have." The Russian President said that he was looking forward to a visit later this month by his Indian counterpart APJ Abdul Kalam and by Singh in November for the annual Indo-Russian summit. Indian Ambassador to Russia, Kanwal Sibal, also said the cooperation in the fields of defence, energy and space figured prominently in the Singh-Putin talks. Putin, who is hosting 53 heads of state and government in connection with the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, had only a few bilateral meetings, including with Singh. Reflecting the special and enduring Indo-Russian relationship, Putin said "there are a lot of guests but India is one." The meeting extended beyond the slated 30 minutes and lasted 45 minutes. "The agenda and quality of the meeting was same as full-fledged bilateral summit," Sibal said charactersing the range of discussions between the two leaders. Narayanan said Putin was particularly positive in regard to his government's support to Indian companies investing in Russian energy sector and building upon the investment that ONGC's foreign operation arm OVL has made in SAKHALIN-I project. He said both sides were of the view that areas of cooperation in various fields should be expanded. Putin told the Prime Minister that cooperation with India was based on high level of trust. Narayanan said that the issue of UN reform did not figure in the discussions. Sibal went on to add that Russia has on more than one occasion said it supported India's candidature in an expanded Security Council. Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said during their meetings with the Prime Monister, Tajik President Imamali Rahmonov and Kazakh President Noorsultan Nazarbayev have reaffirmed their support to India in its bid for a permanent membership in the Council.
The May 8 issue of Minju Joson, the organ of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and the Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, runs answers given by Russian Ambassador to the DPRK Andrei Karlov to the questions put by the newspaper. Answering the question as to his view on the historic significance of the defeat of fascism and the 60th anniversary of the victory of Russia in the war, the ambassador said that the servicepersons of the Soviet Army saved Europe and the world from the fascist subjugation.
Noting that the Great Patriotic War marked a really big event of the times, he went on: The war was not only a worldwide war surpassing all the preceding armed conflicts in terms of its scale, but it was the Great Patriotic War, the first of its kind in history, the purpose of which was to protect the lives of great many people.
Those who doubt the significance of the victory and the role of Russia in winning the victory forget the fact that without the victory their countries would not have existed on the map.
To celebrate the forthcoming war victory day is an expression of high tribute and the sincerest thanks to those who defended the independence of our country and liberated the enslaved people of the world.
Precisely for this reason heads of state and government of at least 50 countries as well as leaders of major international organizations are expected to come to Moscow to participate in the celebrations.
I am pleased that Russia will see the delegates of the DPRK among them.
The historic day, May 9, 1945, will always be remembered by the people.
The event we are commemorating is of eternal significance for the present and future. Answering the question as to the recent steps taken by Russia for the country's security and peace in Northeast Asia, the ambassador said:
The steadily increasing economic potential of Russia makes it possible for it to allocate more funds for bolstering its defense capability.
At least 531 billion Rubles have been earmarked as defense spending for 2005.
A reform is going on in the armed forces and they are being equipped with new type combat hardware that can be found in Russia only.
Russia has recently taken an active part in the Asia-Pacific regional integration system aimed at setting up a new system for regional security and cooperation on a multilateral and equal footing, taking the interests of all the countries in the region into consideration.
A good example of this is Russia's active participation in the settlement of all very complicated regional issues including matters related to the security on the Korean Peninsula.
Referring to the present DPRK-Russia relations and their prospect, he said:
Thanks to the historic meetings of Chairman Kim Jong Il of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Russian President Putin, the top leaders of the two countries, the traditional relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries have developed on a completely new stage in recent years.
Russia and the DPRK are having a regular political dialogue and their stands on almost all international issues are similar or nearly identical.
The 2000 north-south joint declaration and the DPRK-proposed initiative for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula enjoyed strong support from the Russian Federation.
I am convinced that all the regional issues including the nuclear issue should be peacefully settled in view of the security of your side and in the interests of its economic development.
In this sense Russia holds that the Beijing six-way talks should be resumed as they are regarded as a modality most suitable for the discussion on the afore-said issues.
The successful development of the mutual cooperation between the Russian Federation and the DPRK is evidenced by our cooperation in culture, science and education.
There are positive signs in economic cooperation, too, these days.
The turnover of economic cooperation has increased ever since there began such large-scale international projects as the linking of the railways of the Korean Peninsula and Trans-Siberian Railways, I think.
A special mention should be made of the fact that on the eve of the day of victory a high class medal of Russia was awarded to Chairman Kim Jong Il of the DPRK National Defence Commission and commemorative medals were conferred upon 17 Korean war veterans.
All this marks one more symbol of the solid and traditional friendship between the two peoples.
1. Russia's Updated Nuclear Submarine to Be Back In Service Soon
(for personal use only)
An updated nuclear submarine, the Dmitri Donskoi, will very soon enter the Russian fleet inventories, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said to journalists in Moscow.
To quote: "Very soon a new nuclear submarine, the Dmitri Donskoi, will come into service. Choice of the name is symbolical", Sergei Ivanov said.
The heavy nuclear missile cruiser of Project 941 Taifun is being updated in Severodvinsk for the new missile systems. Since last year it has been testing the new intercontinental missile systems Bulava.
Dmitri Donskoi (1350-1389) was the first of the Moscow princes to lead the popular armed struggle against Mongol-Tatars. In 1380 Dmitri Donskoi, leading the united Russian forces, defeated the invading forces of Khan Mamai in the Battle of Kulikovo. He passed for the first time the throne to his senior son Vasili without the Golden Horde consent.
1. Kazakhstan to be the World First Producer of Uranium by 2010
(for personal use only)
According to respective industry news source on the nuclear fuel cycle - UX Weekly (by the UX Consulting Co, USA) - the Republic of Kazakhstan became the third uranium producer in the World (9.4%) in 2004, following Canada (29.2%) and Australia (22.6%). Kazakhstan has produced 3,719 metric tons of uranium last year including Kazatomprom (3636mtu) own output and minor quantities of its joint ventures and Stepnogorsk Mill. It's a 45% increase compared to 2003 production.
The National Company is planning to produce more than 4 thousand tons of uranium in 2005 and to increase annual production up to 15 000 tons by 2010 - which will put Kazakhstan in first place among uranium producers. The country reserves are said to be of 1.5 million tons, which means nearly 20% of the world's total supply of uranium.
Kazakhstan plans to develop seven uranium mines by 2010. The seven new sites should be developed on the fields of Budenovskoe and Mynkuduk in southern Kazakhstan.
The company has assessed that the uranium mining project would recover its expenses by 2013. By then, uranium profits would reach $830 million.
The International Atomic Agency has forecast a shortage in the uranium market by 2010. The IAEA said the market supply would decrease and reach a deficit of 16 000 tons by 2015.
In 1997, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan decided to unite uranium and rare metal industries into one commercial structure representing interests of Kazakhstan on the world markets of nuclear fuel cycle and rare metals - a closed joint stock company Kazatomprom - National export and import organization for uranium and other materials of dual use. Kazatomprom retains the exclusive rights to market Kazakh uranium.
Kazatomprom produces natural uranium, nuclear fuel for power stations, products and byproducts of beryllium, tantalum, niobium and its alloys. Successful cooperation with defence-related enterprises of the former Soviet Union and with the nuclear fuel fabricators worldwide is the best proof of its high quality production.
Kazatomprom is regulated in accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards and is an active member of the World Nuclear Association and the International Tantalum and Niobium Study Center.
1. Russian NPPs Lacking Room for Spent Nuclear Fuel and Radwaste
(for personal use only)
The acting chief of the Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Atomic Supervision Andrey Malyshev raised concerns about this fact at a press conference in March.
He said the safety of the Russian nuclear power plants is one of the three best in the world and they operated in the proper way. The only thing, which raises concerns, is the accumulation of the spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste at some nuclear power plants. This can lead to the situation when the reactor storage pools are filled up and cannot accommodate all spent nuclear fuel from the reactor during reloading. Zheleznogorsk Chemical Combine received licence for the new dry storage facility, but the construction works have not begun in full scale. If such tempo is kept, some reactors can face serious problems in 2007, Malyshev added.
Malyshev also mentioned about the increase of the technological incidents in the operation of the research reactors (26 in 2003, 31 in 2004), marine reactors (21 in 2003, 26 in 2004), nuclear sites (30 in 2003, 39 in 2004). The nuclear power plants, however, experienced fewer incidents last year (51 in 2003, 46 in 2004), MK-Novosti reported.
1. Joint Statement by the United States and Russia
Office of the Press Secretary, The White House
(for personal use only)
During the past few days, American and Russian negotiators have made significant progress on a common approach to resolving soon the question of liability protections for important cooperative programs. This agreement will help put these programs on solid ground for the long haul and enable us to strengthen and extend our cooperation, including on reducing the risks of proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction.
2. Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley on the President's Meeting with President Putin (excerpted)
Office of the Press Secretary, The White House
(for personal use only)
Q On the Iran issue, how hopeful is the President that EU-Iran talks will succeed? And if it doesn't, is the President willing to ask Russian help to get Iranian case to Security Council?
MR. HADLEY: Well, we, of course, are hopeful. We've tried to support the EU-3 Iran discussions with some of the things that were done right after the President returned from Europe. We've been skeptical all along as to whether it would work. That doesn't mean that we aren't hopeful, and that we don't support it. But, obviously, some skepticism is in order. As you may remember, one of the things that is in the letter of the EU-3 foreign ministers that went to the rest of the EU was a recognition that if those negotiations break down, or if the current suspension is lifted, that it would be a matter for the Security Council. And that's well-known. And I think we would hope that Russia would be supportive of that effort. But, again, that's a hypothetical at this point.
As a general matter, the Russians have been very supportive of the effort -- both supportive of what the EU-3 is negotiating with Iran, and also supportive in the discussions they have had directly with Iran about the Bushehr reactor program and the take-back of the fuel, and the effort to put some proliferation safeguards into whatever arrangement Russia and Iran come up with respect to Bushehr.
3. Press Briefing by Rice and Lavrov on The Meeting with President Bush and President Putin (excerpted)
Office of the Press Secretary, The White House
(for personal use only)
MINISTER LAVROV: Good evening. I would like to say that at the talks that have just taken place between the U.S. and the Russian Presidents, they discussed bilateral and international issues. As far as the international issues are concerned, the focus was on the situation in the Middle East, with regard to which we have very close positions. We expect a lot from the Quartet ministerial meeting that will take place tomorrow.
They also discussed the situation around Iran, the DPRK, Afghanistan and Iraq. And they reaffirmed the willingness to prevent the jeopardizing of the WMD non-proliferation regime. They also emphasized their determination to fight terrorism and they reaffirmed that you cannot flirt with terrorism.
They also discussed the ascension of Russia to the World Trade Organization. They registered the progress that has been made, and also they reaffirmed the task that was set in Bratislava to reach an agreement by the end of the year. They also discussed the reform of the United Nations, including the reform of the Security Council, and the State Secretary and I have been instructed to stay in close contact with regard to this issue.
This meeting has demonstrated once again that for the two Presidents there are no forbidden topics. They have shown the readiness, and they are actually discussing everything in an open, friendly and partner-like manner.
4. Interview with French Television Company France 3 (exceprted)
Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation
(for personal use only)
QUESTION: One last question, Mr President. Practically everyone in the West now has their attention focused on Iran and its nuclear programme. Are you sure that Iran will not use its nuclear programme for military purposes?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I certainly hope that it will not. In any case, our cooperation with Iran is under stringent international control, under the control of the IAEA, and this is a purely civilian nuclear programme. We cannot and do not have the right to deprive the Iranian people of the chance to make use of modern technology and the achievements of science. But we also do not have the right to ignore what kind of world we live in, what region Iran is in and how relations between countries are developing. We therefore call on Iran to put all its programmes under the full control of the IAEA and we support the decision to freeze all work aimed at mastering the full nuclear fuel cycle, that is, work on creating weapons-grade enriched uranium that could be used for military purposes. In this respect we are working very actively with our European partners, with the European Troika and the United States. We all share practically the same position on this issue.
5. Roundtable Interview of the President by Foreign Print Media (excerpted)
Office of the Press Secretary, The White House
(for personal use only)
Q: With the level of coordination on anti-terrorist struggle, don't you think that the selling of Russian missiles to Syria, and the Russians selling automatic Kalashnikovs to Venezuela could damage these relations?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, our relationship with Russia is broader than just cooperation on the war on terror. Listen, Russia -- and the cooperation on the war on terror is good. And we were horrified with Beslan. And I know President Putin bore a heavy burden during that period of time. And we were horrified with the subway bombings and the movie theater tragedy. It just goes to show that terrorists can strike anywhere, and are willing to do so.
And I appreciate the cooperation we've had. But we've got working groups on a lot of fronts -- dealing with proliferation matters, energy matters, trade matters, dealing with WTO matters, dealing with institution-building matters -- we've got a lot of relations, and that's good. In other words, it's not just a unilateral relationship.
We've made it clear that -- and by the way, Vladimir Putin went to Israel and got to explain his decision on Syrian missiles, which I thought was very interesting. And we made our position very clear on the AK-47s to Venezuela, and that is, is that we're concerned that those weapons could end up in the hands of FARC, for example, a very destabilizing force in South America.
I do appreciate the cooperation -- I was asked at a press conference by a member of our press corps about Iran, and I felt like the cooperation -- the question, basically, seemed like to me to suggest that the Russians were at odds with what the United States, France, Germany and Great Britain are doing. I don't view it that way; I view it quite in concert with, because Russia has made it clear that the Iranians should not be in a position to enrich uranium.
And what they have suggested is that the Iranians take enriched uranium from Russia, use it in a civilian nuclear power plant to develop power, and that Russia would then pick up the spent fuel rods. To me, that's very constructive, and I thought it was a constructive suggestion. It just goes to show that Russia is a player in the world scene, and was willing to make a constructive suggestion on a very difficult issue that we're all working to try to achieve in a peaceful way, through diplomatic means.
Listen, thank you all for coming. I'm looking forward to the trip. I hope you got that sense, at least, from the conversation. I'm enthusiastic about traveling to countries. I look forward to, as best as a President is able to do, getting a sense of the people. And, again, I look forward to meeting the leaders. I'm really looking forward to meeting -- seeing Her Majesty, as well.
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