Russia will destroy all its chemical weapons by the end of 2017, a year in advance of its earlier target, a senior Moscow official said Thursday.
Col. Gen. Valery Kapashin, a military official who heads the storage and elimination of Russia's chemical stockpiles, said the chemical weapons currently in existence will be destroyed by December 2017.
“The decision was made. The decision is signed,” he reportedly said.
Russia is one of 165 signatories of the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which bans the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties.
In August, Col. Gen. Kapashin said Russia had destroyed nearly 94 percent of its chemical stockpile. In 1993, when Russia signed the CWC, the country declared that it possessed 40,000 tons of toxic chemicals.
The destruction of its chemical weapons began in December 2002 and is carried out in one facility, near the settlement of Kizner in Udmurtia, about 782 miles from Moscow.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body that checks the implementation of the CWC, said in 2015 that it has extended the deadline for destroying chemical stockpiles to 2020 after discussions with member nations.
OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said the initial deadline for the destruction of toxic agents was 2012 but nations could not meet it due to financial and technical issues.