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Official ceremony held in Leonidovka as chemical elimination facility finishes work

17:36 | 22.09.2015 | Society

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Penza, 22 September 2015. PenzaNews. The official ceremony dedicated to the end of the chemical weapons elimination procedures at the Leonidovka facility of the Penza region took place on Tuesday, September 22.

Official ceremony held in Leonidovka as chemical elimination facility finishes work

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The event involved such guests as international observers from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), public officials, representatives of supervision bodies, military personnel, civil staff of the facility, and subcontractors.

The speeches were preceded by two info-films: the first one dedicated to the timeline of the facility, from its construction to the present days; the second one dedicated to the actual process of destroying chemical ammunition.

After that, the deputy head of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade Georgy Kalamanov addressed the public, saying that the end of the runtime for the Penza region chemical weapons elimination process is one of the most important events for 2015.

“The Leonidovka facility made a significant contribution to the chemical weapons disarmament process in the Russian Federation. Its storage housed 85,666 units of chemical ammunition designed for aviation,” he pointed out.

Their total mass was almost 6,900 tons, or 17.2% of Russia’s total chemical ammunition reserves, Georgy Kalamanov explained.

In his turn, deputy Presidential envoy in the Volga Federal District Yuri Zolotarev stressed the importance of the strong sense of duty the facility staff had shown over their task to render the chemical ammunition harmless.

“You all showed the pinnacle of skill. Elimination of chemical weapons is a particularly elaborate task from a technical point of view. Moreover, you ensured total safety, both for the personnel and the adjacent areas,” he stressed.

He was followed by the Penza region governor Ivan Belozertsev, who reminded the people that the Leonidovka chemical weapons elimination facility always remained a threat in the minds of the people living in the region.

“How, this ammunition has been destroyed for good, completely,” he said, pointing out the historical importance of this event.

According to the head of the region, the chemical weapons elimination program in the Penza region has spawned a series of new socially important locations.

“These include the Sura river bridge, the water sports palace, the diagnostics center,” Ivan Belozertsev listed.

He also thanked the facility staff for professional attitude, high skills and courage.

“We must do everything to give such a nice small town, such infrastructure, such locations a new life and a new destiny. We must fill this life with new reason,” the governor said, noting that the Penza region government will assist those who seek to create new jobs where the facility was located.

The list of speakers also included Vladimir Yedalov, former Penza region representative in the Federation Council; Philippe Denier, director of the OPCW Verification Division ; and Colonel General Valery Kapashin, head of the Federal Department for Safe Storage and Elimination of Chemical Weapons.

The official speeches were followed by the award ceremony for the people who actively assisted the chemical weapons elimination process at the Leonidovka facility. The governor Ivan Belozertsev received one of the awards.

The celebration also involved the chairman of the Penza region Legislative Assembly Valery Lidin and the Penza city head Victor Kuvaytsev.

After that, the official part continued with a festive performance.

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