MOSCOW — Soviet President Andrei A. Gromyko today described the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident as a victory over chaos and urged the United States to heed the lessons of the tragedy by abandoning its nuclear weapons testing program.
Gromyko made the eloquent appeal at a solemn Kremlin ceremony to bestow the nation's top orders on Soviet firemen and soldiers who battled the explosion and fire at the Ukrainian nuclear power station last spring.
He called on Washington to abandon plans to discharge nuclear blasts under the Nevada desert and join the Soviet unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests.
The 18-month-old moratorium expired Jan. 1, but Moscow said it will not begin testing until Washington triggers its first blast of 1987, scheduled for Feb. 5.
"It is believed that quiet has no echo," Gromyko said. "But politics is not physics. The quiet at Soviet nuclear proving grounds has a tremendous echo. It is heard in the most outlying areas of the world.
"Chernobyl warns in its own way and calls on the U.S.A.: think again and join the Soviet moratorium. The world wants to listen to quiet," he said.
"Chernobyl indeed was our common pain," Gromyko said after pinning medals on seven who survived the battle against the world's worst nuclear accident. "Yet it also became a victory of the Soviet people over chaos."