Russia destroys 48.3 percent of its chemical weapons

Russia declared on September 22 that it has destroyed 48.3 percent, or 19,300 tons, of its existing chemical weapons stockpiles.

Viktor Kholstov, the head of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, Minpromtorg, made the announcement to a meeting of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, according to UPI.

"It means that we fully complied with the third stage of target dates for the destruction of stockpiles of chemical weapons,” Kholstov said at the meeting, UPI reports. “The main source of financing for the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles -- is the federal budget."

Kholstov said that in the first round of chemical weapons destruction, completed in April 2003, Russia eliminated 400 tons of weapons. In the second round, completed in April 2007, an additional 8,000 tons were eliminated. An additional 18,000 tons were supposed to be eliminated in the third round, reports.

"However, this task was completed last November 25 and by September 1 this year we have already destroyed 19.3 thousand tons of weapons," Kholstov said, reports.

In 2010, Russia budgeted $645 million for destroying banned weaponry.

Early in September, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons visited the Pochep Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility to witness a portion of the destruction for themselves. A representative from the United States was present at the proceedings.