Russia suspends plutonium agreement with US
Russia’s State Duma passed a law on suspending the Russian-US deal on the disposal of plutonium and the respected protocols. The measure was approved almost unanimously: a total of 445 MPs voted in favor of suspending the agreement, and one abstained.
Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted the draft law on suspending the agreement between Russia and the United States on plutonium disposal to the State Duma on October 3 after signing the relevant decree.
Apart from the direct provisions on suspending the plutonium deal, the draft law lists the conditions for the possible resumption of the accords. Among them is Washington’s cancellation of the Magnitsky Act, all anti-Russian sanctions, compensating for the damage sustained by Moscow and reducing US military infrastructure in NATO countries.
The agreement with the United States envisaged ways of disposing of excessive weapons grade plutonium in Russia and the United States, including the production of mixed oxide fuel to be used in nuclear power reactors, conversion into non-weapons-grade form and also burial. It was expected that either side will start eliminating "declassified" amounts of plutonium in an amount of 34 tonnes. Russia converts weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants.
"Considering that the actions taken by the United States have caused a radical change of the circumstances that existed at the time the Agreement and the protocols to it were concluded, the Agreement’s suspension is Russia’s counter-measure and does not contradict the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. At the same time, plutonium falling under the effect of the Agreement remains outside nuclear weapons-grade activity, which testifies to Russia’s commitment to limit nuclear armaments," TASS cited the explanatory note as saying.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, first of all noted that the adoption of this law shows that Russia does not want to participate in an agreement, which is beneficial to the United States.
At the same time he pointed out that it does not make sense for Russia to cooperate with a country, which accuses it of all sins and imposes sanctions. "Not only the suspension of participation in this agreement is important, but the ultimatum, which Moscow brought Washington," Viktor Litovkin explained.
He also said that this agreement will not affect the situation with nuclear weapons in the world. "The fact is that there is a law on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, therefore, our surplus plutonium is not sent anywhere except Russia and the United States. The Americans were not seen in the violation of laws on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. And the supply of fuel for nuclear power plants is not included in this system," the military expert said.
In addition, he recalled that the United States has not yet recovered its plutonium, adding that they did not have such a need. "The US announced a large program of modernization of its nuclear weapons. Barack Obama signed a law, according to which, about $900 billion are allocated for these purposes. At the same time, the US says they do not intend to increase the number of their missiles. The fact is that the number of missiles armed with a nuclear warhead is now limited by START-3, or the Prague contract signed between Russia and the United States in 2010. But those warheads which are today on American rockets, should be changed. And here this plutonium may be useful," Victor Litovkin concluded.