A top U.S. military commander said on August 23 that internal problems faced by Russia’s strategic nuclear forces would probably drop the total number of Russian nuclear warheads to about 3,500 by the year 2005, whether Moscow ratifies the START-2 Treaty or not. General Eugene Habiger, commander of U.S. nuclear forces, said he was therefore optimistic that the Russian Duma would ratify the treaty, which limits the U.S. and Russia to between 3,000 and 3,500 nuclear weapons each by 2003. Habiger said he concurred with a U.S. analysis which concluded that as older Russian nuclear weapons were reaching retirement age, Moscow was not in a position to replace them with newer systems. He added that Russia was developing four new nuclear weapons, but said that work on only one of them, the SS-27 single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, was proceeding smoothly. (Reuter, August 23)
Russian Coalminers’ Union Postpones Nationwide Strike.