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Russia admits it will miss its chemical disarmament deadline

Russia has confirmed it will miss a 2012 deadline for destroying the world's biggest chemical weapons stockpile. The country, which opened a weapons destruction facility with $1 billion in US aid, cited a lack of funds.

A guard overlooks a Russian chemical weapon destruction facility

Russia has the world's largest chemical weapons stockpile

Russia will miss a 2012 deadline for eliminating its chemical weapons stockpiles due to budgetary and technical hurdles, the country's Foreign Ministry confirmed Tuesday.

The ministry said that 190 other signatories to the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention had been informed that Russia will miss the April 2012 deadline, and has pushed its target date back to 2015.

A Foreign Ministry official told news agency Reuters that Russia is committed to destroying its chemical weapons but that "against the background of the global economic crisis, we have run into objective financial and technical difficulties that have forced us to extend the time period [for disarmament]." The official declined to comment further.

Chemical shells displayed in the Siberian town of Shchuchye

Russia says it now needs another three years

The United States and Russia, the two countries with the largest chemical weapons stockpiles, had reconfirmed last year their commitment to the 2012 deadline. US officials have since acknowledged that they too are likely to extend the destruction of chemical weapons.

Last year, Russia opened a weapons destruction plant in western Siberia, built with $1 billion (776 million euros) in US aid. The regional government of Kirov said Monday the country had as of July 12 destroyed 47.9 percent of its 40,000 metric ton Soviet-era chemical weapons stockpile - the largest in the world.

Author: David Levitz (AP/dpa/Reuters)

Editor: Michael Lawton

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