The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed on 27 September that the verified destruction of those chemical weapons possessed by the Russian Federation has been completed. Pugwash welcomes this important achievement and congratulates the Russian Federation and the OPCW for their efforts, as well as the many countries and experts who have assisted in this program.
The Russian Federation became party to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 as the owner of the world’s largest arsenal of these weapons of mass destruction. Its complete verifiable elimination under the Convention testifies to the effectiveness of multilateral and cooperative approaches to disarmament, embodied in the carefully negotiated treaty language. Moreover, the fact that Russia decided to bring its chemical arsenal down to zero without waiting for another major possessor – the US – to do the same shows that strong belief in the deterrent role of these weapons, which used to be an important factor during negotiations on the Chemical Weapons Ban in Geneva, can give way to mutual trust, developed step-by-step in the process of treaty implementation.
Now the goal of a chemical-weapons-free-world is much nearer. To achieve it, it is necessary to accelerate the destruction of chemical weapons elsewhere, to ensure the 100% universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to further improve safeguards against any re-emergence of chemical weapons on the basis of traditional and new technologies and against any attempts by any actors to get hold of or to use these prohibited weapons.
Sergio Duarte, President of Pugwash
Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Secretary General of Pugwash
Sergey Batsanov, Pugwash Council
28 September 2017