President Biden announced that the United States has destroyed all of its chemical weapons stockpile under its obligations under international conventions.

“Today I am proud to announce that the United States has safely destroyed the last of those bombs and ammunition in that stockpile, bringing us one step closer to a world free from the horrors of chemical weapons.”, US President Joe Biden announced on 7/7.

This activity falls within the framework of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which came into force in 1997. Under the convention, countries are obligated to declare and destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles. The US was the last party to sign the CWC.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) called the eventual US destruction of chemical weapons a “historical success in disarmament.” The OPCW said the US announcement meant that the entire known stockpile of chemical weapons in the world was “verified as destroyed and irreversible.”

The announcement of the complete destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile was made by President Biden after a US Army facility in Kentucky said it had completed work to remove about 500 tons of lethal poison. The US used to store many types of artillery shells and rockets containing mustard gas, nerve agents VX and Sarin.

Russia announced the destruction of its entire chemical weapons stockpile in September 2017, fulfilling its obligations under the CWC six years before the US. Russia signed the CWC in 1993, launched its weapons destruction program three years later, and pledged to complete the process by 2020.

Chemical weapons were widely used during World War I more than a century ago, causing massive casualties among the warring parties. This led to strong condemnation of chemical weapons after World War I.

Chemical weapons were not used as much during World War II as in World War I. After World War II, several countries continued to store and develop chemical weapons. According to statistics, after the CWC took effect in April 1997, the world had a total of 72,000 tons of chemical weapons.