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MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. Russia will most likely finish liquidating chemical weapons ahead of schedule in 2017, Head of the State Commission for Chemical Disarmament Mikhail Babich told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
"I want to report to you that we have now reached the final stage of implementing this program," said Babich who is also the Russian presidential envoy in the Volga Federal District.
"Our international commitments prescribe us to finish this work [to liquidate chemical arsenals] by December 31, 2018 but, if we proceed at the same pace, if there are no technological shifts, we’ll be able to finish this work financially, technologically and from the viewpoint of human resources this year and we’ll report to you about this additionally," Babich said.
Work was fully finished in November 2016 at six out of seven facilities engaged in the chemical stocks liquidation, the envoy said.
"In actual fact, our works are now concentrated on one facility in the Udmurt Republic - the Kizner plant," Babich said.
Overall, almost 70,500 tonnes of chemical weapons have been accumulated in the world, of which the largest stocks were held in Russia (40,000 tonnes) and the United States (27,000 tonnes), he said.
In the course of implementing its program to liquidate chemical weapons, Russia spent over 330 billion rubles ($5.59 billion at the current exchange rate), including 12 billion rubles ($203 million) on social infrastructure (schools, hospitals, roads, kindergartens, etc.) in the regions where the relevant chemical weapons disposal facilities were located, Babich said.
"Now the current stage is also very important: in compliance with your decision, a working group has been set up to eventually draw these facilities into economic activity. That is why, we are now at the stage of fulfilling works for eliminating the consequences of chemical weapons, after which we’ll be able to offer these facilities to potential investors for further use so that the funds the Russian Federation has invested in this work won’t be wasted," the envoy told the Russian president.