Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma Draft Law On Suspending the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America on the Disposition of Plutonium Designated Plutonium no Longer Required for Defense Purposes, its Use and Cooperation in This Field, and the protocols to the Agreement.
The agreement signed by the Russian Federation on August 29, 2000, and the United States on September 1, 2000, stipulates that each party destroys 34 tonnes of weapon-grade plutonium designated as no longer required for defense.
On September 15, 2006, the parties signed a Protocol to the Agreement regulating liability for damage.
On April 13, 2010, the parties signed another Protocol to the Agreement regulating financial issues and formalizing bilateral agreements on methods of plutonium disposition, specifically, that all the plutonium that falls within the scope of the Agreement shall be irradiated as fuel in nuclear reactors.
The Agreement with all the amendments thereto took effect on July 13, 2011, after its ratification by Russia.
Recently, the United States has attempted to revise its plutonium disposition strategy outlined in the 2010 Protocol and change its disposition methods. The US plans to dispose of its plutonium by burial instead of irradiation as stipulated by the Protocol. Even back when the Agreement was in development, Russian experts objected to such approach as not irreversible. The 2000 amendments provided for the major part of the American plutonium to be irradiated and only a small amount to be buried underground. The Protocol of April 13, 2010, completely discarded the possibility of burying plutonium, which was part of a compromise reached during the drafting of the Protocol.
It should be noted that to date, the US has not requested Russia’s approval in order to change its plutonium disposition method.
After the Agreement and its protocols came in force, the United States took a number of steps resulting in a fundamental change in strategic stability.
Under the pretext of the crisis in Ukraine, the United States is building up its military presence in Eastern Europe, including the states that joined NATO after 2000 – the year when the agreement was signed. In 2015 six new forward command posts were deployed in Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Estonia. Their main task is to ensure rapid transfer of large NATO troop contingents to Eastern Europe in the event that the order is given. Units of the US Armed Forces have been introduced in the Baltic states and the number of NATO aircraft based on their airfields has been increased. In Ukraine American instructors are training militants from the Right Sector, which is banned in Russia.
Apart from actions aimed at changing the military-strategic balance, the United States is taking measures to weaken the Russian economy and violate the rights of Russian citizens. Thus, in 2012 the United States passed the so-called Sergei Magnitsky law in accordance with which Washington openly sought to protect economic crime in the Russian Federation. In 2014 Washington passed a law supporting the freedom of Ukraine, which allows it to interfere in the domestic affairs of Russia. In addition, in 2014 the United States introduced sanctions against the Russian Federation, some of its territories, as well as companies and individuals.
The actions taken by the United States fundamentally changed the circumstances in which the Agreement and its protocols were signed. Therefore, the suspension of the Agreement is a reciprocal measure by the Russian Federation and does not violate the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Importantly, the plutonium covered by the Agreement remains outside the nuclear weapons sphere, which attests to Russia’s commitment to limiting nuclear arms.
The draft federal law does not violate the provisions of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union of May 29, 2014 or other international treaties of the Russian Federation.Tags: Disposition of Plutonium Russia US Vladimir Putin