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Russian Military Has No Funds to Dispose Nuclear Munitions

Russian Military Has No Funds to Dispose Nuclear Munitions 17.10.2012
Text: Lenta.ru
Photo: rusnord.ru
Russian defense ministry declared that refusal of the American NunnLugar program providing disposal of Russian nuclear munitions and overaged weapons would cost $300-400 bln, reports Kommersant.

The ministry is currently searching for funds to utilize munitions. According to a source in the ministry, the State Arms Program 2011-2020 does not provide financing for arms disposal. Therefore, Russian military has no illusions that the Ministry of Finance would pay the whole sum.

The source says that defense ministry would possibly have to curtail arms procurement in order to spend saved money for disposal of mass destruction weapons. In this case, the ministry will have to cut funding of scientific and research at first.

It was reported on Oct 10 about Moscow's plans to shut down the US-financed Nunn-Lugar program launched in early 90's. As for Russia, secret information can leak during the program implementation, because in accordance with the program conditions the Pentagon has a right to inspect assets were American equipment is planted.

Nevertheless, the US keeps on trying to persuade Russia into prolongation of the program expiring in 2012. According to the interviewee, if the program is shut down, that would "delegalize" some other bilateral non-proliferation agreements. In particular, the question is Plutonium Utilization Treaty of 2010 and Nuclear Materials Protection, Control and Accounting Program of 1997, said the source. That is why Washington is open for changing the agreement. Representative of US State Department Victoria Nuland said America was agree to talk over amendments.

Through implementation of the program since 1992 till 2012, over 7,500 strategic nuclear warheads have been deactivated, about 1,000 intercontinental ballistic missiles have been disposed, as well as hundreds of missiles of other types, more than 100 bombers and launching platforms, almost 3 tons of chemical weapons. The US has spent over $8 bln for that purpose. However, Russian defense ministry says 40 percent of that sum fell to American contractors and advisors.

According to Kommersant, if Mitt Romney wins the presidential race, the US would also deny the program prolongation, because republicans suppose that America's financial assistance helps Russia to use saved money for procurement of new arms.

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