June 1996

Background Briefing

Attributable To: Senior Defense Officials

Subject: Secretary of Defense Trip to Ukraine

Mr. Bacon: This is a background briefing by senior defense officials. First we'll start with a discussion of the Secretary's trip to Ukraine. Two elements -- a military exercise in Lviv, and then going to Pervomaysk to watch the last stage of the dismantling of the Ukrainian missile fields. Then we'll brief on the other part of the trip, the NATO-related part of the trip. That briefer isn't here yet, but we hope he'll come before we reach him. Obviously, this is attributable to Senior Defense Officials, but we've got ________ here, and General _____________ will be the briefers in their respective areas.

Briefer: I'd just like to walk you through the Secretary's visit to Ukraine next week, a two day trip, its central events and its central purpose.

This will be Secretary Perry's fifth trip to Ukraine -- his fourth to Pervomaysk, making it one of his most visited, probably the most visited point on earth by Secretary Perry.

You're all familiar with the importance of Ukraine to us and to our security. Its centrality to Europe, size and geography, population of France, breadbasket of Soviet Union, missile maker of the Soviet Union. It was here, not in Russia, that the SS-24, the SS-18, the two largest, most modern, most fearsome of the USSR's ICBMs were built. This is a state... this is very important for the purpose of our visit, this is a state that began its life a few years ago when the USSR ended, with 2,500 tactical nuclear weapons on its territory, and 1,900 strategic nuclear weapons.

The tactical nuclear weapons were removed in the first year of Ukraine's life, but at the beginning of Dr. Perry's time here in the Pentagon, there were 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads on Ukrainian territory. Let me just remind you that had Ukraine decided to retain those nuclear warheads on its territory, that would make Ukraine the third most powerful nuclear nation on earth -- after the United States and Russia, and before the other declared nuclear powers -- China, United Kingdom and France, which have just a fraction of what Ukraine had on its territory.

In early 1994, the United States, and Ukraine signed the so-called Trilateral Statement in which Ukraine agreed to relinquish the nuclear weapons left by the USSR on its territory, and allow them to be transported back to Russia for dismantlement. In return for, first, security assurances from the United States, the UK, and Russia. Second, compensation for the value of the highly enriched uranium in the strategic warheads. That compensation to take the form of fuel rods for Ukraine's nuclear power reactors. In other words, the warheads containing the HEU were to go out of Ukraine, and back into Ukraine would come nuclear fuel rods containing the same amount of uranium, but blended down to reactor fuel. And compensation for the tactical warheads that had earlier been removed in the form of debt relief for Ukraine's substantial energy debt to Russia. So just to take it from the top again, that was security assurances, then compensation, and the third thing that Ukraine was promised was assistance through the Nunn/Lugar program with carrying out the elimination of the nuclear-related facilities and infrastructure on Ukrainian territory. Those were the terms of the Trilateral Statement which was negotiated in January 1994, and signed by President Clinton, President Yeltsin, and then President Krabchuk of Ukraine.

The chief negotiator on the Ukrainian side in that agreement was now Minister of Defense Shmarov, who will be Dr. Perry's host, and whom you'll see if you accompany us.

The Trilateral Statement called for all the nuclear weapons to be removed from Ukraine this year, by this year, and in a very short time from now they all will be removed. That is one of the reasons for Dr. Perry's visit.

Let me dwell on this theme for a moment, the denuclearization theme. The basic deal that Ukraine made with the world community and with us was that they would be better off without nuclear weapons and with the support of the international community -- support for their security, support for their sovereignty, territorial integrity, economic reform, political reform. Better off without nuclear weapons and the support of the international community than with nuclear weapons and without the support of the international community. Many other states have made that choice in the past, and this was an historic one for Ukraine. The United States has done its part to support Ukraine as a new state, it's security and territorial integrity. I'll just mention the visits by President Clinton there, the numerous Secretary of Defense visits I mentioned before, our bilateral and multilateral defense relationships with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense -- I'll say more about them shortly, that's another important theme of the visit -- and the integration of Ukraine into international organizations and regimes. For example, integrating the Ukrainian space industry, which is a very sophisticated one, as I already mentioned, into the world civil space market. We've worked very had to do that as well.

This trip illustrates the basic bargain, if you like, that Ukraine struck a few years ago in the activities that Secretary Perry will be carrying out. The first day he will participate, as will U.S. forces, in a major ground forces exercise -- I'll describe that in a moment; and the second day he will participate in some events related to denuclearization. That juxtaposition is significant, because the first day speaks to Ukraine's future security -- non-nuclear, but very strong and well supported by the United States and Ukraine's neighbors; and the second day represents the soon-to-be completed process of denuclearization. Those two things go together. They're like two sides of the same coin. Ukraine would not have been willing to relinquish nuclear weapons on its territory were it not for the tangible evidence on the U.S. side of concern for their security, and also tangible help by the United States to carry out this task.

So those are the main themes, and you'll see them illustrated as I walk through the two days.

Day one, we arrive at Kiev and then we will go to Lviv in western Ukraine for a major multilateral ground forces exercise in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace. This will be the first multilateral Partnership for Peace exercise on the territory of the former Soviet Union, and is a tribute to the expansion and strength of the Partnership for Peace, that this is being done.

There will be a large Ukrainian unit, but the second largest unit to participate in the exercise will be the U.S. unit -- about 145 troops. There will also be forces there from, get this, this is really historic -- Russia, Poland, Ukraine, United States, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Bulgaria. In other words, all of Ukraine's neighbors. There will be observers from other Partnership for Peace and NATO countries -- the UK, Germany, Greece, France, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Turkey, Italy, and Norway.

Q: Is Russia the only one that hasn't done a PFP exercise among those that are participating? Are some of the others a first time...

A: No, some of the others have not either hosted a major multilateral PFP exercise like this. This shows Ukraine's leadership in the Partnership for Peace, number one, which is important; it shows Ukraine's regional role. Ukraine organized this. They're the host, they put the whole exercise together, they're the ones who got the Russians to participate, the Americans to participate, the Poles to participate. They put the whole thing together.

Q: You said this is a term that's often used by NATO, in the spirit of Partnership for Peace. This is not an official PFP exercise?

A: It is a so-called in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace. That is actually, Charlie, a distinction without a lot of meaning. The only reason that this exercise is in the spirit of Partnership for Peace and not a Partnership for Peace exercise is that by the time all the participants had... By the time Ukraine had decided to hold this exercise, recruited all the participants, and put the whole exercise together, it was just past the planning deadline for one year's PFP planning cycle, so it's sort of an administrative difference. So that's not a material difference. We do use the phrase in the spirit of Partnership for Peace, but it's basically a Partnership for Peace exercise.

Q: So Russia has not yet participated officially in a Partnership for Peace exercise.

A: No, that's not true. Russia has participated in a number of Partnership for Peace exercises and still does, and has a pretty strong program this year. If you'd like, I can get you a list of exercises Russia has participated in. But they have.

I think what's significant about this exercise is the size and the... This is a real serious exercise. It's large. It's the first ever on the territory of the former Soviet Union, large multilateral PFP exercise. It shows Ukraine's regional leadership, and has really an amazing cast of characters in it, I think. Their first ever such PFP exercise.

Our being there shows both our support for the Partnership for Peace, which as you know, Dr. Perry's been strongly involved in; but also our support for Ukraine itself -- its sovereignty, its security. And this is also representative of our defense relationship with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Dr. Perry and Minister Shmarov are good friends, and they have, going right back to the trilateral days, they've done a lot together. One of the things they've done is build very strong bilateral ties. We have a strong relationship with the bilateral MOD. This exercise is called PEACEKEEPER '96. If you remember PEACEKEEPER '94, and some of you went to PEACEKEEPER '94 with Dr. Perry, PEACEKEEPER '94 was a bilateral exercise -- just U.S. and Ukraine. It was at that bilateral exercise that there were some Polish observers and some other foreign observers, and Shmarov and Perry began talking, and Shmarov said why don't we do this again next year, but instead of it just being the two of us, why don't we invite some other states from the region as well, and that's what Shmarov did and that's what led to PEACEKEEPER '96.

That's day one and that illustrates, if you like, the future of a free and independent Ukraine capable of taking care of its own security, but at peace with all its neighbors and integrated into the Partnership for Peace.

Day two is the denuclearization-related day. On that day we go first to Silo 110. Those of you who were with us in January remember Silo 110. I'll just show you this picture. This will be, when we're done this trip we will add a fourth panel to this chart that many of you have seen many times. This is Dr. Perry's first visit to Ukraine in March 1994 -- shortly after the Trilateral Statement was signed. This is an SS-18 silo with its warheads removed. We were just beginning the Nunn/Lugar program and providing assistance to help these warheads be removed.

The next year we went back, this is an SS-19, it turns out, the other kind of ICBM in Ukraine, and at that time we were taking this missile out, draining its fuel into containers that we, again, provided through the Nunn/Lugar program, taking it to a facility in Nieper Petrovsk which we built, where it would be destroyed and eliminated.

Then this January Dr. Perry went back again, and this is Silo 110. We blew it up.

Between January and now, this site at Silo 110 had all the rubble and so forth removed, specialized equipment from around the silo, the multiple security fences, the guard posts and everything eliminated, the silo filled in, the whole site graded, and planted with the local crop, which turns out to be sunflowers. So you will see sunflower seedlings over this site where you saw a missile silo blown up in January. That will be our first stop, and that will be the fourth and last picture in this series that goes from SS-24s with warheads to farmland. This also, by the way, illustrates that we've carried through on another part of the Trilateral Statement. The first day illustrates the security assurance we gave Ukraine. We care about your security and we'll stick with you. The other commitment we made was to help them with this task. These are American contractors at work, working with the Ukrainian authorities there to accomplish this task. You'll see them in action.

We're very attentive, incidentally, to the environmental aspects of this project. I mentioned this because it will surely come up with the local press there, just as when we've eliminated our own missile silos. And you'll recall a Ukrainian Minister of Defense has done that. A Ukrainian Minister of Defense, not this one but his predecessor, blew up an American silo. We are applying with the Ukrainians a similar environmental remediation techniques in Ukraine to the ones in the United States. That's important, because it's important to the local communities.

The second thing we'll do on day two... I'm sorry. While we're there, in addition to planting a few more sunflowers, the Ministers will do, a couple of things on this first stop on day two.

First, Minister Grachev of Russia will be there. He will have been at Lviv as well, as will a number of other Ministers of Defense, for example of Poland. And Grachev, not the other Ministers, but Grachev will also be present at these events on day two.

The other interesting thing that will happen at this Silo 110 site is that Secretary Perry will sign the agreements with Minister Shmarov for this year's allotment of Nunn/Lugar assistance to Ukraine, which is about $43 million and which brings Ukraine's total Nunn/Lugar program to about $400 million. That's a lot of activity throughout Ukraine. A number of different projects -- not just silos, but a number of other related projects. So we will both see Nunn/Lugar at work, and we will inaugurate the next phase of Nunn/Lugar. Once again, keeping our promise in the Trilateral Agreement, just as Ukraine is keeping its promise and Russia is keeping its promise.

The next place we'll go is a place, unfortunately, you all as the press will not be able to go to. You will helicopter nearby, but we're not able to take you inside the fence. That is to a nuclear weapons storage site which will be empty. It is the divisional storage site for nuclear weapons for the ICBM division at Pervomaysk. It's being decommissioned. But Dr. Perry will go in there and observe that the storage site is empty.

Third, we will go to the town of Pervomaysk where we will visit a housing project also paid for by Nunn/Lugar. Remember, this is a housing project which is not just a housing project, but also a defense conversion project. It's a factory that used to make naval weapons, which was converted to make housing. Then the first set of houses were erected in Pervomaysk. The people who live in those houses are the officers who are being demobilized.

Q: So, they're living there all right?

A: Yes, and we hope that Dr. Perry will have the time to visit in the homes of some of these officers. In fact it may even be the case that we can find an officer associated Silo 110 who is living there now.

But the point is that even as day one illustrates that there is security for Ukraine after it has removed nuclear weapons from its territory, it was important that we also illustrate to the community of Pervomaysk that there was a future for them and its citizens after this base was closed, and you know how hard base closing is in any country. It has its pains in Pervomaysk. This was a sign on our part that we were attentive to and willing to participate in, in however small a manner, the adjustments that the Pervomaysk region went through in closing this base, by providing some housing for some of the officers.

The housing complex has about 261 sites, 261 houses -- 245 of those will be complete when you arrive. About 125 occupied. They'll all be done by the end of this summer. We build the houses, Ukraine provides the infrastructure.

That is the trip, day one, at Lviv; day two, the denuclearization events. As people say in that part of the world, it's no accident that these two days are juxtaposed.

Q: There seems to be some equivocation on exactly when they'll get rid of their nuclear weapons. It was hoped they would be non-nuclear by the time that Dr. Perry arrived, and apparently that will not happen. Can you give us some figures on how many warheads they have left?

A: They have shipped out already from Ukraine the great majority of the warheads. There are some remaining. They're working hard to ship them out as soon as possible, and we expect them to be out in the shortest possible time.

Q: Are there any NoDong missiles at Pervomaysk?

A: No.

Q: Are all the missiles out of silos yet at Pervomaysk, or they're not?

A: All the SS-19 missiles have now been decommissioned. The SS-24s are still sitting...

Q: (inaudible)

A: They're in various stages of defueling, pulled out of their silos, lying on their sides in Nieper Petrovsk, but not standing alert. Nor are any of the SS-24s standing alert. All of them have their warheads demated, so none is a threat to the United States any more.

Ukraine has not decided yet what to do with the SS-24 missiles, the missiles themselves. Ukraine is attracted to the idea of using them for something like space launch, and we've been discussing that with them and we're prepared to assist them through the Nunn/Lugar program in whatever way they wish to dispose of those SS-24s, but it's their decision what use they want to make of them. The SS-19s are simply going to get chopped up.

Q: How many of each?

A: There are 130 SS-19s. Those carried six warheads each. There were 46 SS-24s, they carried 10 warheads each. And if you add that up, you'll get 1,240 ICBM warheads. I told you 1,900, remember, the total number? That's because there are about 700 cruise missiles that were associated with the nuclear bomber force that was based on Ukrainian territory. Those...

Q: What's their status?

A: They are being shipped out also, those warheads. Most of them are out.

Q: Is it possible that all the warheads will be gone, coinciding with Perry's presence?

A: It's possible. Of course that would be very desirable. But we, in any event, expect them to be out in the shortest possible time. That will be, to my way of thinking, one of the most amazing cases in non-proliferation history and a great tribute to Ukraine and its leaders -- first Krabchuk and then Kujma. They've done something truly historic and really deserve the congratulations and support of everybody in the world.

Q: The warheads that remain are presumably in a central storage site, or are they in...

A: The remaining ones are at a couple of sites in Ukraine, from which they are removed.

Q: U.S. assistance in the storage...

A: Yes, United States assistance has been provided both to Ukraine in the warhead movement, as well as missile and silo elimination. And also to Russia. We have a warhead protection, control and accounting cooperation program with the Russian Ministry of Defense, also Nunn/Lugar, that provides them upgrades to these trains that they carry warheads in to make the trains safer against a terrorist incident or an accident, and also to provide them the special containers to put the warheads in, so that they, if there were an accident on the train or somebody fired something at the train there wouldn't be any possibility of the warheads being hit in any way. We have a number of programs like that to increase the safety and security of warheads during transport.

Q: These 130 SS-19s and the 46 24's, they were not all at Pervomaysk right?

A: No, there were two ICBM divisions. Pervomaysk and Khmelnitsky. That's also called, by the way, Drajnia. If you go back to Soviet Military Power or something, you'll find it called Drajnia.

I should mention, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Susan Cook, back there, it is her office, the Threat Reduction Policy Office, that runs Nunn/Lugar and runs all our arms control efforts, and it is she and her office that has brought this about.

Q: Both of these bases have all been stood down now.

A: That's correct. And Charlie, when we went here that first year, I don't know if you were along that time. Remember, we went down in the launch control facility and there was a map on the wall. Dr. Perry's frequently described this. It was a map, there were little lights corresponding to the targets, a map of the United States. It was done Rand McNally fashion. Down in the lower left was Alaska and Hawaii, put in so the whole thing put into a rectangle. And two very serious looking characters sitting there, very professional looking young launch officers. Thirty meters under ground, this capsule. They had two bunks and a samovar, and they're sitting there at their console, and they were in there. A few of the lights were off at that time, corresponding to the very early stages of demating these warheads, but now all the lights would be out. That's 1,900 warheads designed for us that are now, two and a half years later, not threatening to the United States, and in fact the country on whose territory they are is a good friend of ours.

Q: One small question about the peacekeeping exercise. Do you know what exactly Perry's going to see when he's there?

A: When he first arrives there will be an opening ceremony, which typically the Ministers of Defense are on a reviewing stand and the soldiers parade by in formation. Then he will go to the various exercise areas at which the troops are actually training, and they may be, for example manning a checkpoint or something like that, and training to do that. This has a peacekeeping aspect, it has a search and rescue aspect, it has an emergency preparedness aspect, and there is a live fire area. This is serious stuff. And in these exercises, the troops all training to the same regimen for each specific military task. In advance, their commanders work out a common doctrine. What do you do if you're manning a checkpoint, for example, at a border area and a truck pulls up and you think it may be a truck filled with explosives or something like that. What's your standard way of handling that.

Q: All ground operations?

A: These are all ground forces, right. This is a big training area in western Ukraine.

I should mention, by the way, that we have, through the Warsaw Initiative, which is one of the ways we fund Partnership for Peace activities, have provided funds to a number of the participants, including Ukraine, to make this exercise possible. For example, we made some upgrades to the Lviv training area itself, just so it could handle a large number of people who will be coming there at this time.

Q: How many troops will be involved?

A: About 700 Ukrainian troops, 150 American troops, and 50 troops from each of nine other participating countries which were Russia, Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Bulgaria. Then there are a bunch of observers as well, I mentioned earlier -- ten or so observers.

Q: What dates?

A: 3 and 4 June.

Q: The exercise itself is just those two days?

A: No, the exercise goes, I believe, from the 1st to the 11th. The exercise goes on for quite some time. It's just getting started. This is the opening ceremony on the 3rd, and the troops will be there for a couple of weeks. Shali will be going also to Lviv several days after the Secretary.

At this point, I'll leave you and turn you over to the next stage, which is we go off to Munich and Garmisch. I'll put you in the able hands of a friend and colleague, also unnamed defense official.

Briefer 2: I'll try to make this shorter and less interesting.

The final two stops on the trip will include, first of all, a flight into Munich followed by transport down to Garmisch, Germany, to the Marshall Center where the Secretary will meet both with students and staff on the first day, and make an address to the graduating class, the fourth graduating class from the Marshall Center on the second day.

The Secretary has, as many of you probably know, met with every Marshall Center class either here in Washington or in Garmisch. This will be, as I said, I think the fourth graduating class. The total number of graduates from the long course will number about 300 at the time this class graduates. They go back off to their various countries after their course there, and to various high level positions in defense establishments and throughout government.

The Secretary has always made it a point to talk to them when they've come to Washington, and has gone to Garmisch whenever he could, to address them there.

In addition to the time he spends with both the students and the staff in Garmisch, he will have a dinner with senior military commanders from Europe as he normally does when he travels there. He takes that opportunity to discuss in an informal atmosphere issues which are on their minds.

After spending one night in Garmisch, we will then proceed to Lisbon, Portugal where the Secretary will again spend one night... This is a reciprocal visit. He was invited by the Minister of Defense of Portugal, Minister Vintorino, to visit Portugal during Minister Vintorino's visit to the United States earlier this year. It will be his first official visit to Portugal as Secretary of Defense, although Dr. White was in Portugal earlier this year.

In addition to the meetings with the Minister of Defense, he will have a meeting with the Minster of Foreign Affairs, Minister Gama, who also recently visited Washington. Then following our meetings in Lisbon, we will go to the Azores to Lajes Air Force Base where he will visit with both Portuguese and U.S. military personnel who are assigned to Loges. This will be, as far as we can tell, the first Secretary of Defense visit to Loges, official visit, other than just a stop there, ever. As far as we know. We will spend only about four hours on the ground there, but during that time he will visit with U.S. forces who are stationed there with their families, have a look at the facilities, and also spend some time with the Portuguese military who are assigned to Loges.

Following that stop, he will proceed back to Washington.

Q: What's the date for the Azores?

A: The 6th.

Q: Secretary Christopher went over last year, I believe it was last year that Loges was extended, the agreement was extended. How long is it for? When does the new agreement...

A: The new agreement is in effect now. I believe it's for five years, but I'm not certain if that's the time period or not. I'll have to get back to you and confirm that, which I will do.

Q: How many troops are stationed there?

A: Approximately 1,200.

Q: Mostly Air Force, right?

A: Predominantly Air Force, yes.

Q: Does the Secretary have any special message in his plan for his Marshall Center address?

A: I've not reviewed the speech for his Marshall Center address. The Secretary's theme, normally, with the Marshall Center is related to the legacy of George Marshall and the continuation of that legacy by new and innovative means. The Marshall Center represents one element of our efforts to try to extend democracy in through Central Europe, an important element of it, and I'm sure that will feature prominently in his remarks. I, as I've said though, have not yet seen the speech.

Q: Will he be inquiring while he's there about financial management of the center? There have been stories and allegations about mismanagement, wasting of money, that sort of thing. Is the Secretary concerned about it? Is he looking into it while he's there?

A: The trip has been scheduled since long before the series of articles was run in Stars and Stripes. The purpose of his trip is to address the students and the staff there. It has nothing to do with the allegations, and I do not expect that the Secretary will ask anyone about those allegations while he's there. They're being dealt with through the proper channels.

Q: Is that IG or what?

A: As has been widely reported, there have been Inspector General teams who have looked into the allegations. Those teams have reported that in fact most of the allegations that you refer to, financial-related allegations are actually pretty old news and have been investigated by Inspector General teams previously. There are no new financial allegations that I'm aware of that he would be looking into or that he would have an IG look into. There are continuing reviews, policy reviews of the operation at the Marshall Center, which also were ongoing prior to the time that the Stars and Stripes series was run. Those will continue. They include the appointment of a Board of Visitors which has been included in the charter from the very beginning, but now is being established. They will probably include ongoing policy reviews beyond the framework of the Board of Visitors as well, but again, that is part of the original charter that those would take place. There's nothing to report from any of those yet. There have been no new investigations launched that I'm aware of.

Press: Thank you very much.

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