The State Department and the Energy Department of the USA will be looking for "alternative approaches" to Russia's program of utilizing weapons-grade plutonium so as to make it less expensive, the White House press service quoted US President George W.Bush as saying on Thursday. According to the press service, Bush has announced his decision to expand four current programs that envisage United States' help in dismantling and elimination of Russia's nuclear and chemical weapons and in safe storage of nuclear substances. The decision prompted a special statement from Bush, in which he identified Russia as a "crucially important partner" in the effort to prevent "the world's most dangerous people from laying their hands on the world's most dangerous technologies." Bush also stressed he would ask the US Congress to build up financing of this activity. The press service of the US president, too, reports that the USA is about to expand several Energy Department programs, namely the ones that provide assistance to Russia's effort to ensure safe storage of nuclear substances and weapons-grade materials, secure transparency of information about stored nuclear warheads and fissionable substances, and set up international scientific-and-technological centres providing civilian jobs for Russian defence industry experts. It will also implement a program envisaging change of specialization for experts engaged in the field of biological sciences. The Energy Department is also going to speed up the Russia-US effort to equip frontier posts with devices designed to indicate radioactive materials.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea