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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia Will Not Renew Arms Deal With US

by VOA News October 11, 2012

Russia says it will not renew a two-decade-old agreement with the United States aimed at securing nuclear and chemical weapons in the former Soviet Union.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said it will not accept a U.S. proposal to extend the deal without a major overhaul.

A ministry statement said U.S. officials know their proposal does not meet Russia's ideas of further cooperation on the program. It said Russia needs a different and more modern legal framework.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar sponsored the legislation that launched the program.

A White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said President Barack Obama believes the program is still valuable and beneficial to U.S. national security program. The spokesman said the United States is willing to work with the Russians to update the program.

The U.S.-financed program is set to expire next year. It is credited with eliminating stockpiles of nuclear missiles and chemical weapons, ensuring the shipment of nuclear weapons out of the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, and preventing such weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

The program also led to the dismantling of more than 7,600 nuclear warheads.

Russia's top military officials have long complained the program gives the U.S. too much information about the nation's military technologies and weapons sites.

The move comes a few weeks after Russia announced it is expelling the U.S. Agency for International Development, the American foreign aid program.

Russia accused USAID of trying to "influence political processes through the distribution of grants."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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