President Joe Biden announced on Friday that the US has successfully completed the long-standing mission to eradicate chemical weapons, which were initially used on a large scale during World War I.
In a written statement released by the White House, Biden expressed pride in the safe destruction of the last munition in the country’s declared chemical weapons stockpile, marking a significant step toward a world free from the horrors of chemical warfare.
The United States, along with other signatories of the Chemical Weapons Convention, committed to eliminating their chemical weapons stockpiles by September 30, 2023, following its ratification by the US Senate in 1997. The disposal of the remaining stockpiles took place at the US Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo, Colorado, and the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) in Richmond, Kentucky.
In 2022, the final M55 rocket containing the VX nerve agent was destroyed at the Kentucky facility. At its peak in 1968, the US possessed approximately 40,000 tonnes of chemical warfare agents, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the historic achievement, recognizing the devastating impact of chemical weapons on human lives and emphasizing that the fulfillment of this promise to eliminate such weapons is a crucial milestone for the nation. Chemical weapons gained infamy during World War I, earning the moniker “chemist’s war.”
According to the United Nations, these weapons caused nearly 100,000 deaths during the war and have since resulted in over 1 million casualties worldwide.
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