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MOSCOW, May 12 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia has destroyed 31,974 tonnes of chemical weapons, which makes up 80% of all stocks of more than 39,900 tonnes taken over from the Soviet Union, Valery Kapashin, head of the Federal Department for Safe Storage and Destruction of Chemical Weapons, told ITAR-TASS on Monday, May 12.
“These figures clearly indicate our country’s commitment to the fulfillment of its international obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” he said.
A second plant will soon be launched at Russia’s seventh, and last, chemical weapons disposal facility at Kizner in the northern republic of Udmurtia. The Shchuchyev facility in the Kurgan region has also started destroying “complex ammunition”.
Chemicals are destroyed in Russia in four stages. The first 400 tonnes of yperite (1%) were destroyed in April 2003 in Gorny, Saratov region. At the second stage, the Kambarka plant in Udmurtia and the Maradykovsky facility in the Kirov region destroyed over 8,000 tonnes or 20% of all stocks. In November 2009, Russia destroyed over 45% of all chemical weapons ahead of schedule.
Russia has five going chemical weapons disposal plants. These are Kizner, Maradykovsky, Pochep, Leonidovka, and Shchuchye. Two facilities - Kambarka and Gorny - have already disposed of all of their stockpiles. The four abovementioned facilities are operating in accordance with the plans submitted by Russia to the OPCW and are disposing of the chemical weapons as scheduled.
Under the relevant federal programme, Russia has to dispose of all chemical weapons by December 31, 2015.
Russia declared 40,000 tonnes of chemical weapons were in its possessions at the time of accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997.