US - Russia

Chronology from Jan 2002 to Mar 2002

: U.S. and Russian negotiators meet in Geneva.  Mamedov and Bolton discuss arms control issues and set the agenda before an April meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

: Gen. Franks meets with senior officials at the Russian Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs.

: Russian Defense Minister Ivanov, in Washington on an official visit, holds separate meetings with President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  Talks center on the war in Afghanistan and strategic arms agreements.

: The Los Angeles Times reports that the Bush administration has drawn up contingency plans that include targeting nuclear weapons on seven nations, including Russia.

: President Bush announces the imposition of tariffs from 8 percent to 30 percent on several types of imported steel (including Russian steel) in an effort to aid the ailing U.S. industry.  Russia threatens retaliation and soon imposes a ban on U.S. poultry imports.

: The United States announces that it will send a team of 200 military advisors to Georgia to help train the Georgian Army in combat against terrorists ensconced in the Pankisi Gorge in the eastern part of Georgia near the Chechen border.

: In Moscow Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Mamedov and John Bolton, the U.S. under secretary of state for arms control and international security, draft an agreement on nuclear disarmament for signature at a May presidential summit.

: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov says that the U.S. should abandon its military presence in former Soviet republics in Central Asia once the war in Afghanistan is over.

: In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Russian President Vladimir Putin praises U.S.-Russian relations, but in a reference to the “axis of evil” speech, he says that Russia opposes “blacklisting” certain countries.

: In testimony to the Senate, CIA Director George Tenet gives Russia a mixed report card.  He lauds improved U.S.-Russian ties since Sept. 11 but warns that Russia has lost the ability to prevent the spread of dangerous technology.

: At a security conference in Munich U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov exchange barbs over President George Bush’s reference to an “axis of evil” in his State of the Union speech. Ivanov defends the record of Iran and accuses the West of “double standards” for failing to condemn the Chechens as “terrorists” with the same vigor they pursue Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network.

: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov visits Washington and New York to meet with U.S. officials and business groups to promote Russian WTO membership.

: An op-ed piece written by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is published in The New York Times.  It is part of an effort by Moscow to stem the perceived deterioration in relations between the U.S. and Russia.

: Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, says that the Pentagon is not planning to build permanent military bases in Central Asia.  Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage backs up Gen. Franks’ statement, announcing that Washington considers the Central Asia region Russia’s sphere of influence.

: Russia-U.S. consultations on strategic offensive arms reductions are held in Washington.  The U.S. delegation is headed by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.  The Russian delegation is headed by deputy chief of the General Staff Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky.

: “The latest information on Russian operations in Chechnya indicates a continuation of human-rights violations,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher tells a news briefing.  The official statement marks the end of a post-Sept. 11 period during which the U.S. government avoided criticizing Russia’s campaign in Chechnya.

: The Washington Post reveals that the Bush administration is planning to retain nuclear warheads that would normally be dismantled under a proposed bilateral arms control agreement with Russia.  The article also hints that the U.S. may be preparing to resume nuclear weapons testing.  Russia reacts with a terse statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko that calls for reductions in the Russian and U.S. strategic nuclear arsenals to be “radical,” “verifiable,” and “irreversible.”

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