Russia destroys 45 percent of its chemical weapons stockpile

The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that the country is ahead of schedule on destroying its chemical weapons stockpile.

"As of November 26, the Russian Federation has completed the destruction of 17,998.205 [metric] tons, or 45.03% of its chemical weapon stockpiles," the ministry said in a released statement.

The chemical weapons destruction puts Russia ahead of an international deadline called for under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The country's remaining chemical weapons stockpiles, 39,96 metric tons, remain on schedule to be destroyed by 2012.

The Chemical Weapons Convention was signed by Russia in 1993 and aims to stop the development, stockpiling and use of chemical weaponry.

Russia ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, allocating $7.18 billion from its federal budget to meet the deadlines mandated in the agreement. Five chemical weapons destruction plants were built with the money with two more currently under construction.

The international community has also given financial and technological aid to Russia for the destruction of its chemical weapons as part of the 2002 Kananaskis Group of 8 summit's Global Partnership Against the Proliferation of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

More than $1 billion has been contributed by the United States for the construction of a chemical weapons destruction plant in the south Urals.