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.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama has called for a "full review" of the hacking that took place during the 2016 election cycle, according to Obama counterterrorism and homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco. Intelligence officials say it is highly likely that Russia was behind the hacking. The results are not necessarily going to be made public, but will be shared with members of Congress.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are threatening to block the spending bill—and prevent the Senate from leaving town—"because it would not extend benefits for retired coal miners for a year or pay for their pension plans. The current version of the bill would extend health benefits for four months. ... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday afternoon moved to end debate on the continuing resolution to fund the government through April 28. But unless Senate Democrats relent, that vote cannot be held until Saturday at 1 a.m. at the earliest, one hour after the current funding measure expires."
The South Korean parliament voted on Friday morning to impeach President Park Geun-hye over charges of corruption, claiming she allowed undue influence to a close confidante of hers. Ms. Park is now suspended as president for 180 days. South Korea's Constitutional Court will hear the case and decide whether to uphold or overturn the impeachment.
Participants in the women's march on Washington the day after inauguration won't have access to the Lincoln Memorial. The National Park Service has "filed documents securing large swaths of the national mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial for the inauguration festivities. None of these spots will be open for protesters."