Russian Officials: Will Destroy All Chemical Weapons by 2012





Since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union left Russia's military underfunded and disorganized, the arsenal in Shchuchye, about 1,000 miles east of Moscow, has been a top security concern. After years of delays and disputes, a vast facility to destroy the weapons is to formally open there on Friday.

The plant, the size of a small town, was built with a U.S. contribution of more than $1 billion and is seen as a milestone in cooperation on disarmament between Washington and Moscow.

Russia, as a signatory of the international Chemical Weapons Convention, is obliged to eliminate its vast stores of Class I weapons -- chemicals that have no use other than in arms. Moscow already has destroyed about 30 percent of its stockpile, according to the Russian Munitions Agency.





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