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Putin calls on US to observe agreements to destroy weapons-grade plutonium

Putin says US failure to destroy weapons-grade plutonium is the reason for not attending the nuclear summit

Published: Updated:

Russian President Vladimir Putin, commenting on his decision not to attend a nuclear summit in the United States last week, said on Thursday that Washington's failure to destroy its stock of weapons-grade plutonium was a major reason for that.

Russia and the United States agreed in the early 2000s that each of the Cold War-era arch foes would eliminate its reserves of weapons-grade plutonium, which Russia did and the U.S. didn't, Putin said.

"Our partners must understand ... that they should be able to meet their obligations," he said.

The nuclear summit is US President Barack Obama's drive to lock down vulnerable atomic materials worldwide.

With less than 10 months left in office to follow through on one of his signature foreign policy initiatives, Obama will convene leaders from more than 50 countries in Washington this week for his fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit, a high-level diplomatic process that started and will end on his watch.

The boycott by Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently unwilling to join in a U.S.-dominated gathering at a time of increased tensions between Washington and Moscow, adds to doubts that the meeting will yield major results.

The recent deadly militant attacks in Brussels have fueled concern that ISIS could eventually target nuclear plants and develop radioactive “dirty bombs,” a topic that may well be uppermost in leaders’ minds as they meet.