Russia calls on US to expedite destruction of its chemical weapons
“We have inherited the world’s largest arsenal of such weapons of mass destruction, and we carried out a plan for its elimination in good faith,” said Vladimir Yermakov, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Weapons Control and Non-Proliferation.
Speaking before a session of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the diplomat reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to honoring its obligations under international agreements.
“We call upon all nations that still possess chemical weapons to immediately follow Russia’s example,” said Yermakov.
“This concerns primarily the state that had initiated the convention and has always been the promoter of its ideas and now for some reason remains the owner of the largest stocks of chemical weapons,” he added, apparently referring to the US.
He also expressed bewilderment at the fact that the US, while possessing the world’s largest chemical-weapons arsenal, had attempted “to cast a shadow on the great achievements of other countries, such as Syria.”
Yermakov also thanked several nations that had financially contributed to the Russian chemical weapons destruction program, such as the US, the UK, Italy, Poland Germany and France.
Russia destroyed the last of its chemical-weapon stockpiles in late September. President Vladimir Putin personally monitored this process via TV link and called it a historic event.
On October 9, Putin ordered the dissolution of the State Commission on Destruction of Chemical Weapons, as this body no longer had a purpose to serve.
In late September, the US announced plans to destroy their own stockpiles of chemical weapons by late 2023.