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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