Russian Federation Officially Begins Chemical Weapons Destruction at New Site in Maradykovsky

8 September 2006

On 8 September 2006, the Russian Federation officially commenced chemical weapons destruction operations at the chemical weapons destruction facility (CWDF) located at Maradykovsky in the Kirov Region, the Russian Federation. The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, attended the official opening of the facility. The Deputy Director of the Federal Industry Agency, General Victor Kholstov, and the Head of the Federal Directorate for the Safe Storage and Destruction of Chemical Weapons, General Valeriy Kapashin, as well as representatives of the federal and local governments, were present at the opening ceremony.

The facility at Maradykovsky is the third chemical weapons destruction facility to have begun operation under the auspices of the Russian Federation’s Federal Programme to destroy its total declared stockpile of 40,000 metric tons of chemical warfare agents, as foreseen by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The secure storage facility at Maradykovsky holds a total stockpile of over 6,900 metric tons of chemical weapons agent, or approximately 17% of the total stockpile declared by the Russian Federation.

The Maradykovsky CWDF will destroy chemical weapons filled with several types of chemical warfare agents, including VX and other “nerve agents”. All of the stockpiles of chemical warfare agent currently stored at the Maradykovsky storage facility are expected to be destroyed by April 2012.

OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, welcomed the commencement of destruction operations at Maradykovsky and commended the Russian Federation for this renewed manifestation of the Russian Government’s commitment to fulfil the objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention. He noted that the new destruction facility at Maradykovsky will serve to help the Russian Federation in its effort to eliminate 20% of its stockpile of chemical weapons by 29 April 2007, 45% by 31 December 2009, and 100% by 29 April 2012. Director-General Pfirter emphasized that every State Party to the Convention is obligated to assign the highest priority to ensuring the safety of people and to protecting the environment during transportation, sampling, storage and destruction of chemical weapons, and to do so in accordance with its national standards for safety and emissions. Ambassador Pfirter praised the Swiss Confederation for its contribution to the construction and operationalization of the Maradykovsky site.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons implements the Chemical Weapons Convention. Under the Convention, all chemical weapons and their production capacity are to be completely eliminated within a stipulated timeframe and under international verification. During the destruction process, OPCW inspectors will maintain a twenty-four hour presence at the facility to verify that all chemical weapons at the site are irreversibly destroyed.

PR57 / 2006


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