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Russian Man Caught in CIA-Georgian Uranium Sting

Breaking news from the Associated Press:

Russia silent on Georgian uranium sting AP MOSCOW – Russia responded with silence Thursday after Georgia revealed a foiled effort by a Russian man to sell weapons-grade uranium, an episode that appeared to cast doubt on the nation’s ability to halt the black market trade in nuclear materials. The origin of 3.5 ounces of highly enriched uranium seized early last year in the former Soviet republic remains unclear, and some experts accused Georgia of trying to embarrass Russia at a time of strained relations between Moscow and Washington. The Russian government said nothing publicly about the inquiry. An unidentified official at the nuclear agency Rosatom, quoted by the Interfax news agency, denied Georgian accusations that Russia was not cooperating with an investigation of the case. U.S. and Georgian officials told The Associated Press that Georgian authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation that led to the arrest last year of a Russian citizen who tried to sell a small amount of uranium enriched to about 90 percent U-235, suitable for use in an atomic bomb. … Anton Khlopkov, deputy director of Moscow’s PIR Center, which specializes in nonproliferation issues, noted that the quantity seized was reported to be small – a fraction of what was needed to make a nuclear weapon. He also said it was not certain if it came from Russia. “Why was this information released now? It looks like an attempt, by Georgia or the United States, to build up an image of Russia as a nuclear market,” Khlopkov said. “Georgia wants to get political capital out of this.”

Complete article here.