Russia Destroys 1% of Its Chemical Weapons

The processing of the first 400 tonnes of mustard gas was completed this past weekend at a factory for the destruction of chemical weapons in the village of Gorny in Saratov region. This is 1% of the total amount of the substance in Russia. Thereby, Russia fulfilled its international obligation according to the international convention on destruction of chemical weapons.

Russia not only fulfilled the first stage of destruction of chemical weapons, but completed it one month earlier than the deadline and at a higher quality, said the President's Plenipotentiary and Head of the Russian Commission for the Destruction of Chemical Weapons Sergey Kirienko upon his arrival in Gorny.

'Mustard gas was processed better in Gorny than in laboratory conditions,' said Kirienko. He also said that everything that happened was very symbolic. 'Precisely in Saratov region in the 1920's the Red army received its first chemical weapons, and now we are destroying them here,' said Kirienko.

Answering the question of Rosbalt about what to do now with 1.5 thousand tonnes of reactionary mass, Kirienko said that the problem was being decided. 'We will look for effective means for their processing and receiving clean arsenic,' he said.

Russia ratified an international convention on the processing, creation, accumulation and distribution of chemical weapons in 1997. According to the convention, the destruction of chemical weapons will be conducted in four stages. The first stage is destruction of 1% of the reserve of chemical weapons. The second stage calls for 20%, the third stage 45% and the fourth stage requires complete destruction of the reserve of chemical weapons toward April 2012.

2.9% of Russia's chemical weapons arsenal is kept in Gorny. The arsenal is composed of mustard gas, lewisite and a mustard gas lewisite mixture. This is the first factory for the destruction of chemical weapons in Russia and went into operation on December 18 of last year. Now, after a two-month precautionary phase at the factory in Gorny, two lines will begin processing mustard gas and lewisite.

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