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Voice of America reports:

The day that Russia’s government decided last week to end its participation in the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, a huge, mushroom-shaped cloud rose high in the air over Orenburg. In this case, the dust was kicked up by massive, accidental blasts of conventional weapons, largely stores of Soviet-era artillery shells.

To avoid the real thing, a nuclear explosion, American taxpayers have paid $7 billion over the last 20 years to cut the threat of loose nukes scattered around the former Soviet Union. The program did things as simple as build secure fences around warehouses that held nuclear materials, and as complicated as evacuating all nuclear weapons from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The thinking was that, given the lax safety measures of the Soviet Union, and the “anything goes” capitalism that followed the Soviet collapse, Russia and other successor states needed help fast. But 20 years later, Russia’s government finances are among the best in the world. The Kremlin bridles at what it sees as the paternalism and intrusion of foreign aid in securing nuclear, chemical and biological materials.

But that mushroom-shaped cloud over Orenburg hangs like a question mark over one all-Russian arms disposal program…

Not good at all.  Read the whole thing.



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