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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Slams U.S. Aid Vote

Russia hit out Thursday at a U.S. congressional vote which threatened to freeze aid for destroying former Soviet nuclear arms unless U.S. President Bill Clinton could prove Moscow had no biological-weapons program.

"We decisively reject the insinuation which presents the case as if Russia is breaking its obligations in the biological-weapons field," Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigory Karasin said.

"The decision ... causes deep regret," Karasin said in comments which coincided with a visit to Moscow by U.S. Vice President Al Gore for talks on economic and technological cooperation.

Washington has committed over $140 million to help Moscow speed up compliance with the SALT-1 arms reduction treaty. The aid, much of it in equipment, has so far helped remove 2,800 nuclear warheads from former Soviet missiles.

But Karasin said the June 13 vote in the House of Representatives, which cited Russian media reports that Moscow was developing biological weapons, put an extra burden on Russian efforts to disarm nuclear warheads.

Washington said as recently as April 1994 it was not sure Russia had stopped its biological-weapons program, despite the fact that President Boris Yeltsin banned such activity in April 1992.