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Russia: U.S. Accepts Assurances On Weapons Control

Washington, 2 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - The State Department says the United States accepts the Russian government's assurance that it has control over the stockpile of former Soviet nuclear weapons.

Spokesman James Foley told reporters yesterday that while it is difficult to be absolutely certain about the safety of the nuclear weapons, the U.S. has no reason to disbelieve the Russian government. Foley says it is in Moscow's own interests to maintain tight control over the nuclear stockpile.

The comment was prompted by statements from former Russian security council chief General Alexander Lebed, who claimed Russia not only possessed miniature nuclear bombs, but had lost track of some of them.

Russian officials have vigorously denied Lebed's allegations, saying first that no such mini-bombs were ever produced, and that the government had firm control over the nuclear arsenal.