07 November 1997


(Sites being dismantled as part nonproliferation effort) (530)

Washington -- Representatives Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Vic Snyder
(D-Arkansas), both members of the House National Security Committee,
recently visited former Soviet missile sites in Russia and Ukraine
that are being dismantled as part of the Defense Department's
Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR).

According to a Defense Department press release, the program so far
"has eliminated 66 SS-19 silos and 58 SS-19 missiles in Ukraine; each
of these missiles carried six nuclear warheads."

Following is the text of the Defense Department press release:

(Begin text)


November 6, 1997


U.S. House National Security Committee members Rep. Mac Thornberry of
Texas and Rep. Vic Snyder of Arkansas recently returned from a
five-day mission to Ukraine and Russia where they got a first hand
look at former Soviet missiles and launchers. The missiles and
launchers are being dismantled as part of the U.S. Department of
Defense's Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.

During the mission, Thornberry and Snyder, along with DoD officials,
participated in the partial elimination of an SS-19 missile launcher
at Pervomaysk, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) base in
Ukraine. Others attending included the US Ambassador to Ukraine
William Miller, and Col-Gen Volodymyr Mikhtyuk, Ukrainian Deputy
Minister of Defense and Commander of the 43rd Rocket Army. The mission
took place the week of October 13. To date, the CTR program has
eliminated 66 SS-19 silos and 58 SS-19 missiles in Ukraine; each of
these missiles carried six nuclear warheads. The delegation also
viewed an SS-24 in its silo, with its 10 warheads removed, and toured
an SS-24 command center.

The SS-19 silo elimination process in Ukraine is managed by Bechtel
International Corporation, and the SS-19 missile elimination process
by Morrison Knudsen. All 132 SS-19 silos in Ukraine will be eliminated
by the end of 1998, and the CTR program has begun preliminary work to
eliminate all Ukrainian SS-24 missiles and launchers. Ukraine became
nuclear-weapons-free on May 30, 1996 when the last nuclear warhead was
returned to Russia for elimination.

In Russia on October 18, the delegation toured the Research Institute
of Chemical and Machine Building near Sergeiv Posad where SS-N-8
submarine-launched ballistic missiles are eliminated. They viewed
cutting and compacting equipment provided by the CTR program, as well
as missile assemblies in the process of dismantlement. These missiles
carried up to three nuclear warheads. At a military base near Sergeiv
Posad, the delegation saw supercontainers, protective coverings
provided by CTR to assist the Russian Ministry of Defense in the safe
and secure transport of nuclear weapons. The MOD also conducted a tour
of the future site of a test and training facility to identify the
best equipment and operational techniques for security upgrades to
nuclear weapons storage bases. These activities are part of CTR's
comprehensive Weapons Protection, Control and Accounting project to
ensure the safe and secure transportation and storage of Russian
nuclear weapons.

(End text)

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