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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia destroys over 25% of its chemical weapons

RIA Novosti

03/06/2008 12:06 MOSCOW, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has destroyed over 25% of its chemical weapons arsenal, or 10,500 metric tons, a senior military official said on Tuesday.

Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical arms in 1993 and ratified it in 1997. The country is to destroy all its declared arsenal of 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons by 2012.

"Up to now, we have destroyed 10,500 tons of our chemical weapons arsenal during the third phase of weapons destruction," said Lt. Gen. Valery Kapashin, head of the Federal Department for the Safe Storage and Destruction of Chemical Weapons.

The convention stipulates four phases of weapons and materials destruction. One percent of the weapons were destroyed in the first phase and 20% in the second phase. Forty-five percent will be scrapped in the third phase, and the remaining 34% in the fourth.

"With the proper financing we will certainly be able to fulfill all our obligations [under the convention]," Kapashin said.

Russia has allocated $7.18 billion from the federal budget for the implementation of the program and has built at least three chemical weapons destruction plants - at Gorny, in the central Saratov Region, at Kambarka, in the Republic of Udmurtia, and at the Maradykovsky complex in the Kirov Region.

A total of seven destruction facilities will be used in the process.

Western nations pledged at the 2002 Kananaskis G8 summit to help Russia financially and technologically to destroy or convert its chemical weapons and production facilities as part of the Global Partnership against the Proliferation of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

However, the country has so far received only a little over 25% of the promised $2 billion in financial assistance.

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