15:28 Oct. 31, 2016
Kremlin appears to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in U.S.-Russia disputes over Ukraine and Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law on suspending the U.S.-Russia intergovernmental accord on disposing surplus plutonium originally intended for use in nuclear weapons.
Earlier this month the document was approved by the both houses of the Russian legislature.
Putin submitted a draft law to parliament on October 3 after having signed the relevant decree. The Kremlin explained it was taking that action in response to unfriendly acts by Washington.
Apart from the direct provisions on suspending the plutonium deal, the law lists the conditions for the possible resumption of the agreement.
They include Washington lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, paying compensation to Moscow for the sanctions, and reducing the U.S. military presence in NATO member states in Eastern Europe to the levels they were 16 years ago when the agreement was negotiated.
The scrapped deal committed both countries to disposing of at least 34 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium, enough to make almost 17,000 nuclear weapons.