Vladimir Putin: "The last chemical ammunition from Russia’s chemical weapons arsenal will be destroyed today. Without exaggeration, we can say that this is a historic event considering the massive amount of chemical weapons inherited from the Soviet Union – an amount that, experts believe, would be enough to destroy every living creature on the planet several times. This is a huge step towards greater balance and security in the modern world. Today’s event means our country will fulfill the main international obligation under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is to completely eliminate its chemical weapons. Russia was one of the first to sign this treaty and has worked closely with its partners to relieve humankind of the threat of the use and proliferation of such barbaric, lethal weapons. On a related note, I would like to remind you of Russia’s key role in resolving the chemical weapons issue in Syria. Implementation of the Russian programme got underway back in the 1990s when our country was experiencing serious economic difficulties. In the early 2000s we found the resources to step up implementation. A truly enormous amount of work has been done over the course of 20 years. Modern high-tech enterprises were established and domestic technology developed to ensure that the chemical weapons were destroyed safely, in line with the toughest environmental standards and requirements. It is important to make effective use of this experience and built facilities to develop the production of high-tech civilian products. Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov is here today and I would like to ask him to report separately on what is planned to do in this regard. We have repeatedly discussed this issue at different meetings. Colleagues, I would like to emphasise once again: Russia is strictly fulfilling its international commitments, including its obligations on disarmament and non-proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction. We are well aware of the potential dangers and risks associated with the resumption of the arms race and attempts to upset strategic parity. We are always open to meaningful dialogue on enhancing global security and strengthening confidence-building measures. We expect that Russia’s efforts to eliminate chemical weapons will serve as an example to other countries as well. As is known, the largest chemical weapons arsenals belonged to Russia and still belongs to the United States that, regrettably, does not abide by its commitments on deadlines for chemical arms destruction. The deadlines for their elimination have been postponed three times, including supposedly due to a shortage of necessary budget funds, which sounds strange, to be honest, but let it be. We expect the United States and other countries to fulfill their commitments under international agreements. I would like to thank all those who took part in implementing this programme, who displayed the utmost professionalism, responsibility and, at times, courage. I congratulate you on successfully eliminating the last of Russia’s chemical weapons.
I would like to note that our country planned to complete this work by 2020 but completed it ahead of schedule this year, 2017. This is a great success, the result of large-scale, comprehensive and important work of large teams of scientists, workers, and engineers who worked at enterprises specially built for this task."