Chemical artillery shells will be transported in Russia by rail to the place of their destruction only after removing explosives from them. As the RIA Novosti correspondent reports, this was said on Wednesday by director general of the Russian ammunition agency Zinovy Pak after the end of the session of the Russian state commission for disarmament. According to him, the transportation of chemical weapons will start from Udmurtia (a republic of the Russian Federation, the Volga Federal District) after the putting into operation of the facilities for the destruction of chemical weapons in the town of Shchyuchye in the Kirov region (the Urals Federal District). Hightened safety measures will be taken in this case, said Zinovy Pak. Each train will be accompanied by a special defence battalion. He underscored that under the Russian-American agreement, the facilities for destroying chemical weapons have to be built with the financial aid from the USA. Russia, Zinovy Pak said, intends "to categorically insist" that the United States should start this financing beginning with 2002. Zinovy Pak pointed out that the Russian technologies for the destruction of chemical weapons "are much better, because they are safer." As distinct from the United States, where chemical weapons "are simply burnt out," in Russia this process goes on under low temperatures.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea