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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 164-95
April 03, 1995

US ASSISTS UKRAINE WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS DISMANTLEMENT

U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Valeriy Shmarov today amended an agreement to provide up to an additional $20 million in US assistance for the destruction and dismantlement of Strategic Nuclear Arms (SNA) in Ukraine under the terms of the START Treaty. This assistance increases to $205 million the total U.S. assistance under the "Agreement Between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Concerning the Provision of Material, Services and Related Training to Ukraine in Connection with the Elimination of Strategic Nuclear Arms" originally signed December 5, 1993. This agreement was previously amended December 18, 1993 and on March 21, 1994. Funds are provided under the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) or "Nunn-Lugar" program.

Under the agreement, DoD is providing assistance to help Ukraine deactivate and eliminate SS-19 and SS-24 missiles and eliminate missile silos located on its territory. The Department has procured a wide variety of heavy industrial equipment for Ukraine's use in the dismantlement process. These include cranes, excavators, and graders, emergency support equipment, intermodal containers to transport oxidizers; and design, equipment and support for an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Neutralization Facility with the services of an integrating contractor to bring the facility on-line. The additional $20 million specified in the amendment will be used to continue providing such equipment, services, and training.

Secretary Perry and Minister Shmarov signed the SNA amendment during a visit to the Pervomaysk ICBM base where they witnessed the removal of an SS-19 missile from its silo. Equipment provided under the U.S. CTR program will now be used to dismantle the silo. Secretary Perry remarked on the significance of this cooperation in helping to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons world-wide and noted that the CTR program is working to benefit not just the U.S. and Ukraine, but the security of all nations.

Secretary Perry and Minister Shmarov also visited a housing construction site near Pervomaysk where CTR assistance is providing support for a joint project between U.S.-based Bill Harbert International housing company and the Ukrainian military enterprise Fregat. This joint venture represents an important cooperative project between two private companies and emphasizes that successful defense conversion in Ukraine, as in the United States, depends upon the involvement of private enterprises from both nations. While converting the Fregat plant to civilian production, this project is also producing critically needed housing for the retiring Ukrainian Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) officers from the Pervomaysk ICBM base. Ukrainian law requires housing be provided before the SRF officers can be retired and their regiments decommissioned. Without this U.S. assistance, Ukraine has indicated that the SS-19 and SS-24 missile dismantlement process could be seriously delayed.

The amendment signed raises the total U.S. commitment under Nunn-Lugar agreements with Ukraine to $297 million. This assistance is fulfilling the pledge President Clinton made last year to provide Ukraine with up to a total of $350 million in Nunn-Lugar assistance.