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Russia to Eliminate Chemical Weapons by 2020

US stockpiles are not projected to be destroyed until 2023 at the earliest

This article originally appeared at TASS

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has no doubts that Russia will complete the destruction of its chemical weapons stocks by 2020, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu told TASS on Wednesday.

He said that initially all countries that possessed chemical weapons were supposed to dispose of their stocks of toxic agents by April 29, 2012. But that did not happen due to technical and financial problems.

After consultations with the OPCW member states, the OPCW decided to prolong the deadline until 2020. Russia pledged to dispose of all chemical warfare agents by 2020.

This year, Russia has finished work at four chemical weapons disposal plants: Leonidovka (the Penza region); Pochep (the Bryansk region); Maradykovsky (the Kirov region) and Shchuchye (the Kurgan region). Russia has shut down the first two plants.

Mr. Ahmet Uzumcu, who is paying a visit to Russia, will attend a ceremony of closing the Maradykovsky facility on October 30, while a facility in the Kurgan region will shut down on November 20. After that, a facility in Kizner will remain the only chemical weapons disposal plant in Russia that will be operational after 2015.

Uzumcu is sure that Russia which has already destroyed more than 91% of its chemical weapons stocks will complete the process successfully by 2020.

He is going to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on October 29.

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