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Russia says no to US-funded disarmament effort

Associated Press Modified: October 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm •  Published: October 10, 2012

Lugar said in a statement that during his trip to Russia in August, Russian officials told him that they would like to make changes in the original agreement instead of simply extending it. "At no time did officials indicate that, at this stage of negotiation, they were intent on ending it, only amending it," he said.

He added that Russia's space agency officials also welcomed prospects for future work during his visit to a facility dismantling mothballed missiles.

Moscow's move follows its decision last month to end the U.S. Agency for International Development's two decades of work in Russia. Moscow explained that decision by saying that the agency was using its money to influence elections — a claim the U.S. denied.

President Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected to a third term in March despite massive demonstrations in Moscow against his rule, has permeated his campaign with anti-American rhetoric, accusing Washington of fomenting protest.

Following Putin's inauguration in May, the Kremlin-controlled parliament quickly rubber-stamped a series of repressive laws that sharply hiked fines for taking part in unauthorized protests, recriminalized slander and required non-government organizations that receive foreign funding to register as foreign agents. Yet another bill under discussion expands the definition of treason to include handing over information to international organizations.