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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Chemical Weapons Destruction - 2000s

Unlike Russia, the US is not observing its own pledge to dispose of its chemical weapons arsenal, the President Vladimir Putin said ahead of the destruction of the last batch of Russian chemical weapons on 27 September 2017. “Russia strictly complies with its international obligations, including those related to non-proliferation and reductions of weapons of mass destruction,” Putin said. “Historically Russia was one of the largest holders of chemical weapons and the US remains one. Unfortunately the US is not observing the deadline for disposing of its chemical weapons. They have pushed the date back three times, citing a lack of funding. This, frankly, sounds strange,” he added.

Putin’s criticism of the US came as the Russian chemical weapons disposal plant near the village of Kizner, Udmurtia, in the Urals destroyed the last remains of the Russian arsenal. Footage of the landmark process showed an artillery shell with a note in Russian saying “Farewell to chemical arms” being emptied and decontaminated at an automated production line.

Russia, which began its destruction process in December 2002, had eliminated about 60% of its declared stockpile of 40,000 Metric Tons at six of its seven declared sites by early 2012. Russia missed the Chemical Weapons Convention’s 29 April 2012 deadline, and at that time Russia might need a another five years or more to destroy all stocks.

During the 1990s, the United States allocated about $260 million on Russian chemical weapons destruction. The US Congress halted funding -- $34 million from the 2001 budget and $113 million from the 2002 budget -- because Russia had not met conditions set by Congress for receiving the money. Russia had not provided a "full and accurate accounting" of the chemical weapons stockpile, which was believed to be larger than the 40,000 tons Russia had declared. Additionally Russia's long-term plans for destruction of the weapons were contradictory, unclear on funding and on whether nerve gas would be transported across the country.

In July 2005, Russia’s revised overall CW destruction plan received cabinet-level approval. Details of Russia’s revised plan were later provided to the OPCW. Under this plan, Russia, with significant international assistance, was to have constructed seven CW destruction facilities at Kambarka, Maradykovskiy, Leonidovka, Shchuch’ye, Pochep, Kizner, and Gorny. As of October 2008, Kambarka and Gorny had been constructed and had completed destruction operations. Maradykovskiy, Shchuch’ye, and Leonidovka were operational as of October 4, 2010, with construction of a second train underway at Shchuch’ye. Pochep started up in the last quarter of 2010, and Kizner construction was projected to continue into 2011.

Following two intermediate CW destruction deadline decisions, in March 2006, the OPCW established December 31, 2009, as the deadline for Russia to destroy 45 percent of its CW stocks with the final deadline remaining April 29, 2012. Russia met the 45 percent deadline and as of October 2010, Russia had destroyed 48.46 percent of its Category 1 stockpile. In 2010, Russia announced that it would not meet the April 29, 2012, deadline for 100 percent Category 1 CW destruction and that destruction activities would continue through 2015.

Further to a decision by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Conference at its Sixteenth Session (C-16/DEC.11), a national paper by the Russian Federation on the progress made on the completion of the destruction of its chemical weapons, including information on measures to accelerate such progress, as well as on appropriate measures in order to meet the planned completion date (EC-69/P/NAT.1, dated 28 June 2012), was considered and noted by the Council, along with comments on the issue.

'As of May 12, Russia had scrapped 31,974 tons out of 40,000 tons of warfare chemical agents. Thus, the 80 percent threshold has been crossed,' head of the Federal Department for Safe Storage and Disposal of Chemical Weapons Col. Gen. Valery Kapashin said on 12 May 2014. Russian Presidential Representative to the Volga Federal District Mikhail Babich said earlier, 'As of April 1, 2014, Russia had destroyed almost 31,500 tons of chemical weapons or almost 79 percent of all stock held in the country.'

According to Kapashin, Russia was implementing the federal target program of chemical weapons disposal without delays. The last, 7th, chemical arms disposal plant was launched in Kizner, Udmurtia, on December 19, 2013. Same as in the previous years, the 2013 state defense orders were fulfilled ahead of schedule, he said.

'We have yet to launch a line for scrapping complex munitions in Shchuchye and the second facility scrapping artillery chemical munitions in Kizner and to finalize the construction of waste storage sites and some other sites in order to complete the chemical disarmament program. But we can already say there are no impediments to the completion of Russia's international commitments in the field of chemical disarmament,' Kapashin said.

'Chemical arms' scrapping is over in Gorny and Kambarka. Maradykovsky and Leonidovka have destroyed over 99 percent of the stock, and the indicators stand at 91 percent in Shchuchye and 74 percent in Pochep,' Kapashin said. The scrapping technologies, including techniques of scrapping complex munitions, were devised by Russian scientists in collaboration with specialists of the federal department, he said. Complex munitions contain warfare agents and anti-disturbance explosives.

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