LUGAR MEETS WITH UKRAINE'S MILITARY CHIEF, PRAISES ARMS REDUCTIONS
08 May 1997
Nunn-Lugar Spurs Destruction of Weapons Delivery Systems after Facilitating Warhead Removal WASHINGTON -- During a meeting last night with Ukraine's military chief, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) praised the former Soviet republic for reducing its Cold War nuclear arsenal. Last week, Ukraine agreed to destroy its SS-24 missiles, in addition to SS-19 missiles, silos and launch sites, utilizing $47 million provided through the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. At a dinner last night, Lugar joined Gen. John Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in welcoming Ukraine's Chief of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant Oleksander Zatynaiko. "The removal of all nuclear warheads from Ukraine last year was a milestone in the reduction of the former Soviet arsenal that had targeted the United States for many years. Last week's announcement that Ukraine has agreed to destroy a major component of its missile program takes the process of peaceful disarmament an important step further," said Lugar, who with former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) wrote the legislation that helped make weapons destruction possible. "The recent developments in Ukraine mark a signal success for the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, substantially strengthening the security of each American." Ukraine announced last June that all warheads bad been removed from the country. This involved the deactivation of more than 4,000 strategic and tactical warheads that existed in Ukraine in 1991. The announcement last week indicates that Ukraine will continue dismantling delivery vehicles. Since 1991, Ukraine has received $450 million for nuclear disarmament. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program was passed by Congress in 1991 as the former Soviet Union dissolved. Under the program, money obligated to Ukraine has been used primarily for strategic arms elimination, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) silo destruction construction of neutralization facilities to dispose of SS-19 rocket fuel, and related projects. Overall, the Nunn-Lugar program has accelerated the dismantlement of thousands of former Soviet nuclear weapons. President Clinton enthusiastically supports the Nunn-Lugar. "The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (Nunn-Lugar) has played a major role in the elimination of weapons in the former Soviet Union and in the denuclearization of Ukraine," Clinton said. Last year, Sens. Nunn and Lugar were joined by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) in creating a program that builds on the original Nunn-Lugar effort. The Nunn Lugar-Domenici law accelerates accounting and destruction of chemical, biological and nuclear material in the former Soviet Union; strengthens international border controls to interdict weapons and materials smuggling; and enables the Department of Defense to train civilian medical law enforcement personnel to identify react to terrorist attacks involving chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. "Terrorists using weapons of mass destruction on American soil is a real threat," said Lugar. "We must acknowledge this reality and work to control materials at their source while increasing civil defense at home."
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