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Russia is ready to scrap its chemical weapons stockpile completely following the launch of its second chemical-weapons destruction plant
Russia is ready to scrap its chemical weapons stockpile completely following the launch of its second chemical-weapons destruction plant, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday "Russia adheres to its commitments on the Chemical Weapons Convention and intends to complete the destruction of its stockpile in the timeframe outlined in the document," the ministry said in a statement. The Kambarka plant, launched in the Republic of Udmurtia about 700 miles east of Moscow on March 1, will use cutting-edge technology to produce chemicals for use in medicines, both on the domestic market and for export. Local officials said that about 1.8 metric tons of highly toxic lewisite had been destroyed during tests conducted at the plant, which comprises about 50 facilities, since December. The plant, which was opened with the financial assistance of Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and the European Union as a whole, is expected to destroy a total of 6,360 tons of lewisite. About 20% of Russia's chemical weapons will be destroyed by 2007, according to provisional calculations. In all, 4,000mt of weapons have been destroyed at Gorny, Russia's first destruction plant, and another 4,000mt will be destroyed at Kambarka and Maradykovo, the latter of which is under construction in the central Kirov Region, about 550 miles northeast of Moscow. With the Kambarka plant and the first part of Maradykovo operational, Russia will complete the second stage of an internationally backed program intended to destroy Russia's 40,000-mt weapons stockpile by 2012. Under the program, Russia is set to build in 2008 its third destruction plant in West Siberia's Kurgan Region, which borders on Kazakhstan.
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