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Russian MP: Suspension of plutonium agreement to harm US economic interests

Suspension of the agreement not only affects sizable part of US economic interests, but it also demonstrates that Russia's intentions in defending national priorities are "serious"

MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/. Suspension of the agreement with the US on the disposal of redundant plutonium will harm economic interests of the US and will prove the seriousness of Russia’s intentions to defend its national priorities, a senior parliamentarian from the State Duma told Tass on Monday.

"Suspension of the agreement not only affects sizable part of US economic interests, but it also demonstrates that our intentions are serious in defending national priorities. That is why the terms for resumption of the agreement are absolutely correct," said Vladimir Gutenev, slated for the head of commission for ensuring legal groundwork for entities of the defense-industrial sector.

He said that by making this decision Moscow "gives a clear signal of a need to review relations and maintain an equal balance, where the interests of both sides will be taken into consideration".

Gutnev said that "initially, at the moment of the signing.. the agreement was of small advantage and interest for the Russian Federation, and was in essence "imposed by the forces that had influence on the country’s leadership in the 1990s".

"Our president has always remained committed and has not reviewed the earlier assumed commitments, ensuring full legal succession. Unfortunately, our opponents often lack this, they treat the earlier signed agreements very freely, referring to the changed conditions," the deputy said.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma a bill on suspending the agreement with the United States on the disposal of redundant plutonium. The bill lists conditions on which the agreement could be resumed, including cancellation of the so-called Magnitsky Act, all anti-Russian sanctions with compensation of the damage, as well as reduction of US military infrastructure in NATO countries.

"It is very regretful that Russia has been taking no counter measures to unfriendly moves," he said. "The principle of reciprocity is extremely important in politics. As it seems to me, we should have possibly taken these measures after first unfriendly moves, but we still had hope that the confrontation policy of the West would not go that far," he said.

"I am sure that all State Duma deputies will support this initiative of the president," Gutnev said.

"The effect of the Agreement and the protocols to the Agreement may be resumed after the Unites States removes the causes that have radically changed the circumstances that existed on the day the Agreement and the protocols to the Agreement entered into force," article two of the draft law says.

In particular, the talk is about "reducing the military infrastructure and the numerical strength of the US contingent based on the territories of the NATO member states, which joined the alliance after September 1, 2000, to the level, at which they stayed on the day the Agreement and the protocols to the Agreement entered into force."

The second condition stipulated in the draft law is that the United States should give up unfriendly policy towards Russia by "cancelling the US 2012 Act [the Magnitsky Act] and the provisions of the US 2014 Act on the support of Ukraine’s freedom aimed against Russia," "cancelling all sanctions imposed by the United States on specific Russian regions, Russian legal entities and private individuals," and also by "compensating for the damage sustained by Russia as a result of the imposition of the sanctions, including the losses from the imposition of counter-sanctions against the USA," the bill says.

The third condition is that "the United States should provide a clearly-expressed plan of the irreversible disposal of plutonium falling under the effect of the Agreement," the bill says.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered suspension of the plutonium disposal agreement with the United States over Washington’s unfriendly actions towards Russia.

"In connection with a fundamental change of the circumstances and the emergence of a threat to strategic stability as a result of unfriendly actions by the United States towards Russia and the United States’ inability to ensure compliance with the assumed commitments to utilizing excessive weapons grade plutonium under international treaties and also proceeding from the need for urgent measures to protect the security of Russia" the Russian president ordered suspension of the agreement between the governments of Russia and the United States concerning the utilization of plutonium that has been declared as plutonium no longer necessary for defense purposes, its handling and cooperation in that field, the decree runs.

The agreement with the United States was signed on August 29, 2000. It 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.