The international community must not allow a slightest possibility of nuclear blackmail and must spare no effort to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime, the strategic stability aide to the Russian President, Marshal Igor Sergeyev, told the second United Nations conference on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in New York on Sunday. Sergeyev stressed that "the implementation of the CTBT will be a crucial step toward" a more robust nonproliferation regime. He reaffirmed Russia's enduring commitment to the treaty and its prompt implementation. Sergeyev said that the five years after the treaty was opened to signing have shown that not only has it failed to enter into force, but also dangerous tendencies have emerged for the treaty to unravel. The Kremlin aide believes such a development "would pave the way for the crisis of the regime founded on the Nonproliferation Treaty and for an uncontrolled spread of nuclear weapons." He insisted that "the consequences of the breakdown" of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty would include the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. The marshal called it "a very alarming signal" in that, among other things, "the vector of securing strategic stability could be reoriented anew to the nuclear sphere." By ratifying the CTBT, the START-II Treaty, and the ABM Treaty package, and by making, despite its own difficult situation, far-reaching initiatives on further deep cuts in the strategic nuclear stockpiles and on limitations of delivery vehicle's of weapons of mass destruction, Russia has "demonstrated its genuine determination to carry on reduction of nuclear weapons and disarmament," Sergeyev said.
The head of the Voronezh region, Alexander Gusev, confirmed the death of Major General Vladimir Zavadsky.