The commitment is significant because it marks a departure from a Bush administration policy that had set a firm ceiling, at just more than $1 billion, for total
In his e-mail, the State Department spokesman said the support “is projected to cost $35 million over 3 years.” The job is not expected to last more than three years because
Walker, a former congressional staffer, said the commitment probably would require little if any newly appropriated funds from Congress. That is partly because the Defense Department’s Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, which provides the aid for Russian chemical weapons destruction, has some “savings” as a result of favorable dollar-ruble exchange rates in recent years and partly because the pending fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill contains language providing authority to make certain kinds of transfers within the CTR program, he said.
Asked to comment on that point, the Defense Department spokesman said, “The funds will come from a mix of current and future CTR funds.”
In the June 30 e-mail, the State Department spokesman said the funding commitment was “[i]n response to a recent Russian request.”
A Russian official said in a June 25 e-mail that, in the spring,
The Shchuch’ye facility houses an arsenal of the nerve agents sarin, soman, and VX in artillery shells and missile warheads. The artillery shells are considered a particular risk because they are “man portable,” that is, small and light enough to be carried off the site. Shchuch’ye began initial operations in March 2009, but construction has not been completed on the facility, especially a second main destruction building.
The size and composition of the chemical weapons arsenal at Kizner is similar to the one at Shchuch’ye—5,700 metric tons of nerve agents at Kizner versus 5,400 tons at Shchuch’ye in some 2 million man-portable munitions at each site. Construction at Kizner has not been completed. According to the State Department spokesman, “No [
Under the Chemical Weapons Convention,
At an Aug. 30 meeting with reporters in Washington, Ahmet Üzümcü, who became OPCW director-general in July, said part of the reason for the Russian delay was economic, including “commitments made by other states or organizations in terms of financial aid, which didn’t materialize in a timely manner.”
He said he was not intervening with the Global Partnership countries to press for funding for the Russian effort. However, he said he believes there is “a consensus that we should get rid of the stockpile as soon as possible” and, on that basis, he was appealing “to the international community” to provide support “within their means.”