April 1, 2014
The U.S. Energy Department’s nuclear-security arm is reviewing its assistance to Russia amid continuing tensions with Moscow over Ukraine.
The National Nuclear Security Administration assessment is part of an Energy-wide “ongoing internal review of Russian-related activities,” department spokesman Bill Gibbons said in a statement last week. The review comes against a backdrop of Western concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces might seek to further encroach on former Soviet or Warsaw Pact territory following the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
It was not immediately clear to what extent the Energy review would consider the nuclear-security and nonproliferation work conducted by NNSA officials. The Obama administration in the past has tried to insulate such U.S.-Russia cooperation from any foreign policy disagreements with the former Cold War rival.
However, at least one nuclear security assistance-related project already has been canceled. Gibbons said the agency had decided to drop a request in its fiscal 2015 budget proposal for funding training equipment that would be used by Russian security forces as they practice responses to possible attacks on nuclear-material transports or sites housing these sensitive materials.
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