Russia extends scrapping of chemical weapons until 2016

Russia has extended the deadline for complete destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal until December 31, 2015, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Thursday.

The country has so far destroyed a half of its chemical weapons stockpile (20,000 metric tons out of 40,000) and was under an obligation to complete the program by May 2012.

“The implementation of the program has been hampered by the global financial crisis, which threw it back two to three years,” said Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.

Kosachev added that Russia would not face international sanctions for the delay in the implementation of the program because it is not the only country that will not be able to meet the deadline.

“The second largest holder of chemical weapons stockpiles – the United States – has extended its deadline until 2021 after destroying about 90 percent of its arsenal,” he said.

Moscow signed the Chemical Weapons Convention banning the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical arms in 1993, and ratified it in 1997.

Russia has allocated $7.18 billion from the federal budget for the implementation of the program, and has built six chemical weapons disposal plants – in Gorny (Saratov Region), Kambarka (Republic of Udmurtia), Nizhny Novgorod, the Maradykovo complex (in Kirov Region), in Siberia’s Kurgan Region, and in the town of Pochep, located 250 miles southwest of Moscow.

MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti)

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