04/07/2010, 00.00
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Moscow gives up nuclear arsenals, but sells arms to dictatorships of the world

Tomorrow in Prague, Obama and Medvedev will sign the new Start treaty to reduce nuclear arsenals. The success of the new U.S. president is overshadowed by Russia’s possible abandonment of agreements in light of threat posed by the U.S. missile shield.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The signing tomorrow in Prague of the new Start treaty on reducing nuclear arsenals marks another success (at least formally) for the Obama administration. But the new relationship established between the Kremlin and the White House after the election of the president, Nobel Laureate for Peace, is overshadowed by gaping holes and ambiguities that put Moscow ‘s good intentions in doubt.  

Conflicting statements have emerged from Russia : yesterday the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Serghiei said that his country could withdraw from Start, if it feels threatened by the U.S. missile shield.

While Obama hopes to finally put an end to the Cold War relations that characterized Presidencies of Bush and Putin (and bring the Russians down on his side with the aim of reaching new UN sanctions on Iran), Russia has established strategic alliances and is selling weapons and nuclear materials to some of the dictatorships heavily criticised by the U.S.. An example of this is President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Venezuela, where he signed a deal with the military sector worth 5 billion dollars. On that occasion, President Chavez assured: "We will not make the atomic bomb, but with Moscow we will develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." Even worse, Chavez has also talked about a Russian proposal for the space industry. Bolivian leader Evo Morales is also hoping for a closer alliance with the Kremlin.  He arrived in Caracas obtaining a loan from Putin for 100 million dollars in military supplies and an Antonov for personal use.  

Russians are also busily trading with Beijing.  In early April 15 ground-to-air missile batteries valued at 2.25 billion dollars were handed over to China.  

The collaboration between the two powers in fighting terrorism is also far from watertight. According to the Washington Post, citing anonymous CIA and FBI sources, the US-Russia cooperation after Sept. 11 was "very limited". Moscow – they claim - is focused only on Chechen terrorism, and sometimes, when American agents have requested an exchange of information on extremist groups operating in the former Soviet republics bordering Afghanistan, they "have not even received a response." (MA)

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