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22 August 2017
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United Kingdom, US and NATO urged to reveal locations of chemical munitions

Dumped in the Baltic after the Second World War

The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has called on the United Kingdom, United States and NATO to immediately declassify information on the locations of sites in the Baltic Sea where chemical munitions were dumped after the Second World War, according to CE Communication Unit.

In a resolution adopted yesterday, based on a report by Gediminas Jakavonis (Lithuania, ALDE), PACE’s Standing Committee said that this information would enable a detailed study of the current condition of these chemical munitions, and the risk they pose to the marine environment. Although most experts agree the munitions would be safer left where they are, the forthcoming construction of the Nordstream gas pipeline on the Baltic seabed “may pose new and considerable dangers”, the parliamentarians said.

 At the Potsdam Conference in 1945, the Allied Powers agreed to dump around 300,000 tons of unused German muntions – including mustard gas, a nerve agent called tabun, teargas and the choking agent phosgene – in the deep Atlantic. It is now known that these weapons were in fact dumped in the Baltic and the North Sea, sometimes in water only tens of metres deep.

 The Allies agreed not to make the locations public for 50 years, but in 1997 the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defense extended the gag for a further 20 years.

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