Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is visiting Russia, Ukraine and Georgia this week as part of his longtime effort to purge weapons of mass destruction.
Lugar has been meeting with Russian officials in Moscow in an effort to extend provisions of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, according to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Lugar is the top-ranking Republican. An umbrella agreement between the nations expires next June.
According to media reports, Lugar on Tuesday encouraged Russian leaders to work with the U.S. in trying to eliminate stockpiles of chemical weapons in Syria, a Russian ally in the midst of a civil war.
Syrias government has threatened to use chemical weapons in the event of an attack by another country.
Lugar also was scheduled to visit a missile-dismantling facility in Surovatikha, Russia; a Kiev, Ukraine, chemical plant that is destroying the motors of strategic missiles; and the Nunn-Lugar Central and Public Health Reference Laboratory in Tbilisi, Georgia.
He is joined on his trip by senior officials of the Defense Department and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Congress is in recess this month.
Lugar has regularly traveled to the former Soviet Union and other nations to oversee the reduction of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
The Nunn-Lugar program, authored by Lugar and then-Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., in 1991, has supplied U.S. funds and expertise to deactivate nearly 7,700 nuclear warheads the former Soviet Union.
Lugar is in his 36th and likely last year as a senator. He was defeated in the May 8 Republican primary election by state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who faces Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, in the Nov. 6 general election.