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Ukrainian warheads shipped to Russia to be dismantled

A TRAIN load of nuclear warheads crossed the Ukrainian-Russian border yesterday and will be dismantled by Russian firms, the Russian Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The train and its route were heavily guarded, and there were no plans to disclose the destination of the weapons.

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A Russian defense ministry spokesman said the warheads will be disassembled under a pact in which Ukraine has agreed to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for nuclear fuel for its power plants. Russia's nuclear energy ministry said on March 4 that the first load of fuel for the Chernobyl power station had left.

Fuel supplies from Russia may be key to the disarmament pact. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, in an interview from Washington, suggested that his country's compliance with the agreement could depend on Russian gas supplies. Moscow, which says Kiev owes it 1.5 trillion rubles ($900 million) for gas, cut daily deliveries by 2.8 billion cubic feet over the weekend.

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