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Former U.S. Senator Lugar, Key Figure In Destruction Of Soviet Weapons, Dies


U.S. Senator Richard Lugar in Washington in 2011

Former Republican Senator Richard Lugar, who played a key role in creating the program under which Soviet nuclear and chemical weapons were destroyed after the end of the Cold War, died on April 28 at the age of 87.

Lugar represented Indiana in the Senate from 1977 to 2013. He served for decades on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including two stints as its chairman.

An influential voice in foreign affairs, Lugar is best known for a 1991 initiative he created jointly with Democratic Senator Sam Nunn (Georgia) that sought to keep Soviet weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists or hostile countries.

Under the U.S.-funded program, about 7,600 Soviet nuclear warheads, 2,300 missiles, and 24 nuclear-weapons storage sites were eliminated.

A Ukrainian defense official examines an SS-19 nuclear missile just before it is to be dismantled in Dnipropetrovsk in 1999.
A Ukrainian defense official examines an SS-19 nuclear missile just before it is to be dismantled in Dnipropetrovsk in 1999.

Lugar sought nomination for a seventh term in 2012, but was defeated in the primary by a candidate backed by the conservative Tea Party movement, who campaigned against Lugar's reputation for bipartisan compromise.

After leaving office, Lugar founded the Indianapolis-based Lugar Center, which focuses on weapons proliferation, global food supplies, and improving governance.

"Lugar was a leader not only in the Senate but also on the world stage, where he worked tirelessly to bring pressure to end apartheid in South Africa and enforce treaties that destroyed Soviet weapons of mass destruction," Vice President Mike Pence, who is also from Indiana, said in a statement.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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