Former Security Council secretary and retired gen. Aleksandr Lebed’s earlier charge that as many 100 small nuclear weapons are missing (see Monitor, September 8) just will not go away. Lebed repeated the accusation on September 19 during a visit to Japan, insisting that the "problem still exists" despite the fact that "some people chose to protect their name or laugh off the issue." Lebed is getting some unexpected support — from Aleksei Yablokov, a prominent environmentalist who had been the chairman of a senior commission on environmental security. In a letter due to appear today in a Moscow newspaper, Yablokov reveals that such "suitcase" nuclear weapons had been developed for the KGB in the 1970s. Defense Ministry officials have insisted that no nuclear weapons are missing or unaccounted for, but Yablokov says that these weapons were not "registered" with the military. (Reuter, September 19; Ekho Moskvy, September 21)
An Unexpected Turn in Russian-Japanese Relations?