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NIZHNY NOVGOROD, March 21 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has destroyed more than 24,157 tonnes of toxic agents, i.e. 60.4 percent of its stockpiles of chemical weapons. The rest may be destroyed faster than initially scheduled, a Kremlin official said.
The presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District and the chairman of the State Commission on Chemical Disarmament, Mikhail Babich, met with a delegation of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons headed by OPCW Executive Council Peter Goosen and OPCW Technical Secretariat Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu on Wednesday, March 21.
Babich confirmed Russia’s commitment to full disposal of all stockpiles of chemical weapons under international supervision.
“We are taking maximum effort to complete this process within the shortest time possible,” Babich said.
Russia plans to use seven disposal facilities to destroy all of the stocks in 2012.
During the first stage, 400 tonnes of poison substances were eliminated by April 29, 2003, which made up 1 percent of Russia's chemical weapons (40,000 tonnes).
In the course of Phase Two, Russia disposed of 8,000 tonnes of chemical weapons. At the facility in the village of Gorny, 1,143 tonnes were eliminated, while the facility in the village of Maradykovsky accounted for 4,500 tonnes of eliminated agents out of the scheduled 7,500 tonnes.
The chemical weapons disposal plant in Kambarka, Udmurtia, has destroyed all 6,400 tonnes of lewisite that were kept at its depots.
The plant in Kambarka has been operating without failures since commissioning on March 1, 2006. Kambarka is one of the seven chemical weapons disposal plans built in Russia under a national programme of chemical disarmament. It stored 6,400 tonnes of lewisite since the 1940s, which made up 15.9 percent of all toxic agents inherited by Russia from the former Soviet Union.
The Pochep site in the Bryansk region stores over 7,500 tonnes of nerve gases and plays a special role in the final stage of the federal chemical disarmament programme. The site contains almost 19 percent of Russia's war gases. All of them have to be disposed of within the period of time prescribed in the Hague Convention.
The facility in the village of Leonidovka, Penza Region, is also involved in the implementation of the programme. Another facility is in the town of Shchuchye, Kurgan region.
The final stage of the programme envisions the destruction of 100 percent of chemical weapons by December 29, 2012. The plants in the town of Pochep, Bryansk region, and the town of Kizner, Udmurtia, will take part in the implementation of this stage.