President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Babich, you head the state commission overseeing destruction of chemical weapons, in line with our international obligations. I would like to hear your assessment of the current situation.
Plenipotentiary Presidential Envoy to the Volga District and Chairman of the State Commission for Chemical Disarmament Mikhail Babich: Mr President, in accordance with your decisions, the Russian Federation is carrying out the presidential programme to destroy chemical weapons. Nearly 70,500 tonnes of chemical weapons were stockpiled around the world, of which 40,000 tonnes were here in Russia, 27,000 tonnes in the United States, and the rest divided among other countries.
192 countries have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. We are now in the final stage of carrying out the programme. Of the seven facilities here in Russia, where chemical weapons were destroyed, six are close to completing their work, as I briefed you. Today, work is essentially concentrated at the one remaining facility, Kizner, in Udmurtia.
Under our international obligations, we must complete this work by December 31, 2018. But if we continue at today’s pace and have no problems with technology, financing, equipment and personnel, we will be able to complete the work this year. I will brief you further on this.
Russia has spent more than 330 billion rubles to date on implementing the programme. Twelve billion rubles were spent on social infrastructure facilities in the regions where the facilities are located – schools, hospitals, roads, kindergartens, and sports infrastructure. These infrastructure facilities are all working in full today and serve the needs of people living and working in the places where the chemical weapons destruction facilities are located.
We have reached an important stage now. Acting on your decision, we have established a working group on bringing these facilities onto the market for further use. We are at the stage in the chemical weapon destruction programme where we can offer these sites to potential investors for future use, so that the investment Russia put into this work does not go to waste.