News Release

Why is Russia Expanding Its Nuclear Arsenal?

The Washington Post reports: “Russia announced Tuesday that it will expand its nuclear arsenal, sparking concerns about a renewed arms race as old Cold War rivals Moscow and Washington plan to increase their military capacity amid rising tensions over Ukraine.”

An activist and an analyst — both in New York City — are available to comment:

Sr. MEGAN RICE, mrice12 at
Rice, a nun and one of the Transform Now Plowshares, a group of three activists who were convicted of allegedly intending to harm national security by entering into a Y-12 National Security Complex, a nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The activists spent two years in prison before their sentences were finally overturned last month. Their actions — which including pouring blood and painting “The Fruit of Justice is Peace” — sparked Congressional hearings on the vulnerability of major nuclear facilities.

She said today: “The Russians are rather responding to U.S. government activity, aren’t they? The U.S. government put its military at Russia’s door step. The facility we entered into at Oak Ridge is illegal — it’s producing weapons of mass destruction. The government calls it ‘modernizing’ — but they’re making some 80 bombs a year. It’s unconscionable that we know the effects of nuclear weapons and continue to build them, threatening all of life. And of course, some are profiteering on these weapons while poor people sleep on the street tonight. It’s everyone’s responsibility to expose and oppose crimes, even crimes of the government.”

See the Washington Post coverage of their trial, including a video interview of Sister Rice. Also: “The Prophets of Oak Ridge” and “3 Peace Activists Sentenced for Breaking into Nuclear Site.”

ALICE SLATER, aslater at
Slater is with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Abolition 2000 coordinating committee. She said today: “What’s going on here is we’ve pursued an aggressive posture, expanding NATO right up to Russia’s border, moving troops into eastern Europe, walking out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and planting missiles in Turkey, Poland and Romania. Now quite predictably, Russia is pushing back. Some people don’t see it because Russia has been demonized in much of the media.

“The Obama administration has announced that the U.S. government will be spending $1 trillion dollars over the next 30 years for two new bomb factories, planes, missiles and submarines to deliver new nuclear weapons. That’s totally inconsistent with its pledge under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty to move toward disarmament.

“The talks for the NPT — which take place every five years — concluded last month in failure because the nuclear powers have continued their stalling tactics. The South African representative very eloquently spoke of ‘nuclear apartheid’ — where the nuclear states, claiming the need to protect their security, hold the rest of the planet hostage to their lethal arsenals. The good news is that 107 non-nuclear weapons states at the NPT signed a Humanitarian Pledge to negotiate a treaty to ban the bomb, without the participation of the nuclear weapons states who continue to illegally flaunt their NPT promises to make ‘good faith’ efforts for nuclear disarmament.”

See IPA release: “As Anti Nuclear Weapons Activists Released, 91 Nations Pressing Abolition.”

Background: The U.S. obligation to disarm under the NPT has been acknowledged by former Secretary of Defense McNamara (the U.S. signed the treaty during the Johnson administration, in which McNamara served). In 2005, he told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “The NPT was signed by a president. It was submitted to the Senate; it was ratified by the Senate. It is today the law of the land. The U.S. government is not adhering to Article VI of the NPT and we show no signs of planning to adhere to its requirements to move forward with the elimination — not reduction, but elimination — of nuclear weapons. That was the agreement, these other countries would not develop nuclear weapons and the nuclear powers would move to elimination. We are violating that.” In 2009, McNamara wrote the piece “Apocalypse Soon.”