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State Duma committee to consider suspension of plutonium deal with US

October 17, 2016, 6:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The issue is likely to be submitted for consideration to the State Duma’s plenary meeting on October 19

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MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. Russia’s State Duma Committee for International Affairs on Monday has recommended suspending the Russian-US plutonium-disposal treaty. This matter is suggested to be reviewed at the Duma meeting on October 19.

The draft bill on the plutonium-disposal treaty suspension with the US was submitted to the State Duma by Russia’s President. The document lists the conditions for the resumption of the treaty that include the repeal of the Magnitsky list, which punishes specific Russian officials for the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky while in custody, lifting of all the anti-Russian sanctions and compensation for the damage caused by the sanctions, as well as reducing US military infrastructure in NATO countries. Another condition demands the US put forward a clear plan for the irreversible disposal of plutonium.

As the explanatory note goes, "after the treaty came into effect, the US undertook a number of steps leading to fundamental changes in the strategic stability field." "Under the pretext of the Ukrainian crisis, the US has been building up its military presence in Western Europe," the note stated adding that the US has also been taking measures to erode Russia’s economy and violate Russian citizens’ rights. "In particular, in 2012 the US adopted the so-called Magnitsky Act thus standing up to defend the economic crimes in Russia. In addition, in 2014 the US imposed sanctions against Russia, some of its territories, companies and individual citizens," the note says.

"Since the United States’ activities have caused a major change of the situation that existed when the treaty was signed, its suspension is a reciprocal step and does not contradict the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Meanwhile, the plutonium covered by the treaty, will not be used for military purposes which proves Russia’s commitment to nuclear restraint," the explanatory note added.

The agreement with the United States was signed on August 29, 2000. It envisaged ways of disposing 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 would start eliminating "declassified" amounts of plutonium in an amount of 34 tonnes. That said, Russia converts weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants.

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