With NATO Help Suspended, Russia Said to Ramp Up Chem-Destruction Funds

Global Security Newswire Staff
April 17, 2014, 9:36 a.m.

The Rus­si­an gov­ern­ment re­portedly in­tends to budget ex­tra funds for the dis­pos­al of old chem­ic­al weapons fol­low­ing the re­cent break in NATO co­oper­a­tion.

Rus­sia is dis­pos­ing of a So­viet-era chem­ic­al stock­pile as re­quired un­der the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion and, in the past, has re­ceived U.S. fund­ing to sup­port that ef­fort.

On Tues­day, a mem­ber of the Rus­si­an par­lia­ment’s up­per cham­ber, Vikt­or Ozer­ov, said the gov­ern­ment would have to al­loc­ate close to $1 bil­lion for do­mest­ic chem­ic­al dis­arm­a­ment to make up for the funds that NATO coun­tries had prom­ised to provide, IT­AR-Tass re­por­ted.

NATO has sus­pen­ded mil­it­ary co­oper­a­tion with Rus­sia as pun­ish­ment for its an­nex­a­tion of Ukraine’s Crimea Pen­in­sula. However, there has been no word that in­di­vidu­al mem­ber states have de­cided to can­cel planned non­pro­lif­er­a­tion fund­ing destined for Mo­scow. The United States is typ­ic­ally the biggest con­trib­ut­or of such fund­ing through its Co­oper­at­ive Threat Re­duc­tion pro­gram and there has been no an­nounce­ment from Wash­ing­ton that it plans to halt CTR pro­gram fund­ing to Rus­sia.

Ozer­ov, who heads the Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s De­fense and Se­cur­ity Com­mit­tee, said the re­cent geo­pol­it­ic­al events had not changed Rus­sia’s fo­cus on meet­ing a Dec. 31, 2015, tar­get date for com­plet­ing erad­ic­at­ing its chem­ic­al ar­sen­al, which at one point meas­ured 44,000 met­ric tons of war­fare agents.

Ah­met Üzüm­cü, who heads the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons, ap­plauded Rus­sia’s pro­gress in des­troy­ing its chem­ic­al ar­sen­al, In­ter­fax re­por­ted. The chem­ic­al-arms watch­dog or­gan­iz­a­tion over­sees im­ple­ment­a­tion of the CWC treaty.

The coun­try to date has erad­ic­ated 78 per­cent of its chem­ic­al stock­pile, Üzüm­cü said.

“We know that there are cer­tain tech­nic­al dif­fi­culties in des­troy­ing chem­ic­al weapons,” he said dur­ing a vis­it to Mo­scow. “We hope that this pro­cess will be over” by the end of next year.

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