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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 32, November 1998

US Delegation Visits Dismantling Facilities In Russia, Ukraine

From 16-25 November, a Congressional delegation led by Senator Richard Lugar (Republican - Indiana) visited nuclear weapons dismantlement facilities in Russia and Ukraine. In 1991, Lugar was co-architect, together with Senator Sam Nunn, of the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR), or 'Nunn-Lugar', programme providing assistance for dismantling nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. Speaking at a press conference in Washington on 12 November, Lugar gave an overview of the programme so far: "While much more remains to be done, the Nunn-Lugar scorecard is impressive. Nunn-Lugar has facilitated the destruction of 339 ballistic missiles, 286 ballistic missile launchers, 37 bombers, 96 submarine missile launchers, and 30 submarine launched ballistic missiles. Most notably, 4,838 warheads that were on strategic systems aimed at the United States have been deactivated."

The other members of the delegation were: Carl Levin (Democrat - Michigan), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Dr. Susan Koch, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction policy; Rose Gottemoeler, Director of the Energy Department's Office of Non-Proliferation and National Security; and, for part of the visit, Sam Nunn and Defense Secretary William Cohen. The delegation visited one site in Ukraine (Priluki, where the US company Raytheon has been contracted to decommission Blackjack strategic nuclear bombers), and three sites in Russia (a strategic nuclear submarine dismantlement facility near Arkhange'sk, a Fissile Material Storage Facility, still under construction at Mayak, and the Obolensk State Research Center of Applied Microbiology).

Speaking on his return to Washington on 25 November, Lugar told reporters: "Congress and the Clinton Administration must devote the requisite resources to stop these threats... I have not found a better value for our security dollars than removing this threat through the Nunn-Lugar...programme."

Reports: Text - US team to review Nunn-Lugar projects in Russia, Ukraine, United States Information Service, 13 November; US Senator calls for more funding to disarm Russia, Agence France Presse, 25 November.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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