The decision appeared to catch the US by surprise. In a statement posted on his website, Sen. Dick Lugar (R) of Indiana said that as recently as last August he'd been talking with the Russian side about extending the agreement with a few amendments. "At no time did [Russian] officials indicate that... they were intent on ending it, only amending it," he wrote.
The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, largely financed by US taxpayers to the tune of about $7 billion over the past two decades, oversaw the removal of ex-Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan; deactivated almost 8,000 nuclear warheads; dismantled 33 atomic submarines; and cleared away thousands of tons of chemical weapons. Mr. Lugar insists that there is still plenty of work left to do, including helping the Russian Space Agency to destroy old Soviet-era SS-18 and SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Russia has signaled that whoever may win next month's US presidential election, the much-discussed "reset" of relations between the US and Russia, which was a centerpiece of the Obama administration's first-term foreign policy, is probably over.