Magazine article Arms Control Today

Lugar Cites CTR Progress, Calls on U.S. for More Aid

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Lugar Cites CTR Progress, Calls on U.S. for More Aid

Article excerpt

SENATOR RICHARD Lugar (R-IN), following a November 14-23 oversight and fact-finding mission to Russia and Ukraine, called for additional U.S. security assistance to Russia under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. Despite significant gains thus far, the program faces an uncertain future due to the deteriorating Russian economic situation.

Created in 1991 by Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), the CTR program has already assisted Belarus and Kazakhstan in becoming non-nuclear-weapon states and is helping Russia and Ukraine fulfill their obligations under START I. The program is also designed to help former Soviet states reduce the risk of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation.

In a November 24 press conference, Lugar noted that to date the CTR program has facilitated the destruction of 339 ICBMs, 286 ICBM launchers, 37 bombers, 96 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and 30 SLBMs; the deactivation of 4,838 former Soviet strategic warheads; and the sealing of 191 nuclear test tunnels.

Lugar warned, however, that "Russian institutions are experiencing severe strain." Describing "the desperate conditions which exist in the nuclear cities and biological institutes across Russia," he stated, "These weapons scientists and engineers are not getting paid. In some cases their government has abandoned them."

Furthermore, due to Russia's current financial crisis, Moscow might not be able to finance its portion of various CTR projects, such as the fissile material storage facility under construction at Mayak. Although Congress approved virtually all of the Clinton administration's CTR request for fiscal year 1999 (approximately $440 million), a Russian failure to fulfill its financial obligations under CTR might endanger the program's future funding. Congress has appropriated $2. …

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