WASHINGTON, September 29. /TASS/. The US Department of Defense sees the total elimination of Russia’s chemical weapons stockpile as an "important milestone" in the disarmament effort, department Spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza told TASS on Thursday.
"We congratulate the Russians on their completed chemical weapon destruction. This is an important milestone in the arms control and nonproliferation community, towards a shared goal of a world free of chemical weapons," she said.
Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that the United States "does not comply with its obligations regarding the terms for chemical weapons disposal," the US official said her country remained committed to destroying its chemical weapons stockpile.
"The United States remains committed to the complete destruction of its declared chemical weapons," she said. "We are on track to meet our self-imposed deadline for complete destruction by the end of 2023."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a video link-up with the village of Kizner in the Udmurtia Region, where the last chemical weapon from Russian stockpiles was eliminated, that Washington "has postponed disposal terms three times already, including at the pretext of lack of budget financial assets, which, honestly speaking, sounds rather strange."
Commenting on Putin's words, Baldanza said: "The projected completion dates have changed over the years due to technological destruction challenges, but "lack of funding" has never been cited as contributing to program delay."
"For its part, the United States provided over one billion dollars in financial and technical assistance for the Russian chemical weapon destruction program," she added.
According to the US official, over 90% of the United States stockpile has already been destroyed.