Source Pravda.Ru

First Stage Of Destruction Of Russia's Chemical Weapons Stockpiles Nearly Complete

On April 26 the Gorny chemical weapons-destruction facility, located in the Saratov region, will complete the first stage of disposing of the category-1 toxic agents. They are 400 tonnes of yperite, or 1 percent of Russia's war gas stockpiles.

In this way, Russia "is abiding by its obligations under the chemical arms ban convention," the RIA Novosti correspondent was told on Thursday by the press service of the presidential plenipotentiary in the Volga federal district.

The destruction of yperite will be over one month before the deadline /May 31/ set by the executive committee of the Chemical Arms Ban Organization, said the press service.

Sergei Kiriyenko, chairman of the state commission for the destruction of chemical weapons and presidential plenipotentiary in the Volga federal district; Zinovy Pak, general director of the Russian Ammunition Agency; Dmitry Ayatskov, governor of the Saratov region; ambassadors of the foreign countries-donors of the program called Destruction of Chemical Weapon Stockpiles in the Russian Federation will monitor the process of destruction of the last part of yperite in Gorny.

On the same day, an exposition History of the Creation and Destruction of Chemical Weapons in Russia will open in Saratov.

In 1997 Russia ratified the international Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, Use and Spread of Chemical Weapons.

Under this convention, the Russian Federation has pledged to destroy all of its reserves of chemical weapons /40,000 tonnes of category-1 toxic agents/ as legacy of the former USSR.

According to its terms, the participant state is to destroy its chemical weapons in four stages. First, 1 percent of the chemical weapons stockpiles; second, 20 percent; third, 45 percent; fourth, 100 percent of all the reserves of chemical weapons.

In November 2001 Russia urgently destroyed powder charges --- category-3 toxic agents; in March 2002 phosgene charges - category-2 toxic agents.

In 2002 fourth quarter, the first stage of the pilot war gas disposal plant was built in the Gorny settlement in the Saratov region. On December 2002 it began industrial destruction of category-1 toxic agents.

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