Russia’s Saratov has dangerous chemical weapons inherited Russia’s Saratov has dangerous chemical weapons inherited



Russia’s Saratov has dangerous chemical weapons inherited from erstwhile USSR

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As per AP Archives story published on July 21, 2015 Russia’s Saratov Army Base is a time bomb containing around one-and-a-half-thousand tonnes of dangerously deteriorating chemical weapons. Russia inherited 40-thousand tonnes of chemical weapons from the Soviet Union which, under international accords, must be destroyed.

The report also states this is the changing of the guard at Russia’s Saratov army base, 700 kilometers (440 miles) south-east of Moscow. In many respects, the display of military might is just a show. Although surrounded by wire fencing, security seems rather light, particularly since the base holds some of the former Soviet Union’s most deadly weapons. Russia inherited 40-thousand tonnes of chemical weapons from the Soviet Union. International agreements, signed by America and Russia, have declared such weapons must be disposed. But at Saratov, time is running out.

The report also states that majority of the one-and-a-half-thousand tonnes of dangerous substances — including mustard gas — have been stored at the base since 1946. “According to local health ministers, the chemicals are in danger of leaking into the environment. The containers are old, rusting, and threatening to dump their lethal contents into the fragile ecosystem. Regular checks are carried out to determine whether there is any immediate threat. Until three years ago the existence of the dump was top secret and not even revealed to local officials. It is near the Volga river, which supplies drinking water to (m) millions of Russians. It is a matter of growing concern for local health officials and the general public,” it says.

So why can’t these be not destructed and the threat removed forever?
A decision to develop a State Program for Destruction of Chemical Weapons was made in the former USSR in 1989. The draft of the program was sent in 1990 to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and was discussed in several committees; however, it was never adopted. The program provided for five options of eliminating TC, differing from each other both in number and locations for construction of elimination facilities, in capital investments and times for starting and finishing work . In the new Russia, the first option of the chemical weapons destruction program was submitted for consideration by the RF Supreme Soviet in the autumn of 1992 . It is still not clear why the program was transmitted to committees of the RF Supreme Soviet by the Committee on Conventional Problems of Chemical and Biological Weapons prior to preliminary discussion and approval by the Government.

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