Russia Will Destroy 1% of All Chemical Weapons in First Six Months of 2003

'We are sure that Russia will meet all the demands and destroy 1% of its chemical weapons within the first six months,' Sergei Kirienko, chairman of the commission for the destruction of chemical weapons and presidential plenipotentiary in the Privolzhsk Federal District, has announced.

As a Rosbalt correspondent was informed by the plenipotentiary's press office, Mr Kirienko gave a report on the commission's progress to President Vladimir Putin yesterday.

Apart from the plant in Gorny, there are plans to build two more large units for the destruction of chemical weapons in Russia by 2005: in the Kambarka settlement (Udmurt Republic) and in the Schuchje settlement (Kurgan Region). Russia is expecting to receive USD 160 million from EU countries and the US in 2003 to finance the destruction of chemical weapons. This is half of the total sum that is to be spent on destroying poison-gases this year. According to the international convention, Russia must destroy all its chemical weapons by 2012.

The destruction of poison gases began at the plant in the Gorny settlement (Saratov Region), the first of its kind, on December 19, 2002. So far 250 tonnes of mustard gas have been destroyed at the plant. 400 tonnes must be destroyed within the first six months.