Russian energy firm helping China's nuclear weapons program is 'direct threat' to US, GOP warns
House Republicans are calling on Biden administration's national security officials to "utilize the full application of sanctions, export controls, and diplomacy" to block a Russian state-owned energy company from helping China to expand its nuclear weapons program and warn this relationship is a "direct threat" to U.S. national security.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, are demanding that the Biden administration acknowledge that Russia and China are "working in tandem against the United States."
"Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, is helping the People’s Republic of China (PRC) acquire enough weapons grade plutonium to fuel its strategic nuclear breakout," the chairmen wrote in a letter Friday to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
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The chairmen explained that Russia's Rosatom "helps fuel" Russian President Vladimir Putin's war efforts in Ukraine.
"We call on the administration to view this cooperation for what it is, a direct threat to U.S. security and more evidence that Russia and China are working in tandem against the United States," they wrote. "The administration should use all tools at its disposal to stop Rosatom and the PRC’s dangerous cooperation."
Rogers, Turner and McCaul also warned that Rosatom’s position in the global market is "only getting stronger."
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"The longer we wait to act, the more difficult it will be to address Rosatom’s nefarious and malign dealings," they wrote. "Putin uses these funds to fund his war machine and keep his favorite weapons programs on schedule."
"In short, every dollar and euro that Rosatom brings in directly finances the death and destruction we see in Ukraine, China’s nuclear weapon expansion, and is a direct threat to the American way of life," they added.
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Rogers, Turner and McCaul demanded "stronger action" and a "whole-of-government approach."
"We ask that you use all the tools at your disposal, such as the full application of sanctions, export controls, and diplomacy, to stop Putin from using Rosatom to challenge U.S. interests across the globe," they wrote.
The chairmen requested a briefing on the Biden administration’s Rosatom strategy "no later than April 17, 2023."
The warning comes after the intelligence community warned in its annual threat assessment that China is "reorienting its nuclear posture." U.S. Strategic Command Admiral Charles Richard has cast China’s nuclear weapons expansion as a "strategic breakout."
Intelligence community officials also warned in its assessment that Russia maintains "the largest and most capable nuclear weapons stockpile and it continues to expand and modernize its nuclear weapons capabilities."
As for the relationship between China and Russia, the intelligence community assesses the two states will "maintain their strategic ties driven by their shared threat perceptions of the United States."
Officials warn the relationship between China and Russia creates "potential threats in areas such as security collaboration, specifically arms sales and joint exercises, and diplomacy, where each country has used its veto power on the UN Security Council against U.S. interests."