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Chemical Weapons

Volume 87: debated on Tuesday 26 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the number and type of chemical weapons held by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and what information he has as to the level of training members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' armed forces have in the use of such weapons.

The USSR has a major chemical warfare capability. Its chemical weapon stockpile is assessed to include some 300,000 tonnes of nerve agent alone. The Soviet Union possesses the means to deliver chemical weapons against targets throughout western Europe, including the United Kingdom. It has some 90,000 specialist troops responsible for aspects of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. Soviet forces are also comprehensively equipped and trained to operate in a chemically contaminated environment.A new United States non-classified assessment, with which Her Majesty's Government are generally in agreement, entitled "Soviet Chemical Weapons Threat", has recently been published by the United States Defence Intelligence Agency, and I have placed a copy in the Library.