Russia worried over extremists’ seizure of Iraqi chemical weapons

Moscow: Russia is “extremely concerned” about extremists’ seizure of a chemical weapon depot in Iraq, the foreign ministry said here Thursday.

“This not only hinders the task of meeting the deadlines for destroying chemical weapons in Iraq drawn by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)…

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“… but also poses a most serious threat of possible use of the materials by the extremists in Iraq and neighbouring countries like Syria,” Xinhua quoted the ministry’s spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich as saying.

Iraqi representatives at the OPCW officially confirmed that militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had launched an offensive and taken control of the Al-Muthanna chemical weapons complex located northwest of Baghdad, where remnants of the country’s former chemical weapons program are kept, the official said.

The situation in Iraq is deteriorating, which “actually got beyond national borders and is acquiring regional dimension”, he said.

He stressed that Russia was in solidarity with Iraqi authorities to fight terrorism and start domestic dialogue for consensus.

Moreover, Lukashevich said the 40-kg nuclear material taken by militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul poses no threat to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said Tuesday that the uranium compounds, kept at the Mosul University for scientific research were taken away by insurgents.