The Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says the country could get rid of its nuclear weapons if other nuclear powers are ready to abandon them too.
"What do we need nuclear arms for?" Putin said during talks with visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
"Was it us that invented and ever used it?" he said in a reference to the United States, which became the world's first nuclear power when it bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.
"If those who made the atomic bomb and used it are ready to abandon it, along with -- I hope other nuclear powers that officially or unofficially possess it; we will of course welcome and facilitate this process in every possible way."
US President Barack Obama is due in Moscow next month for talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on a successor to a Cold War-era disarmament pact, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), set to expire in December.
Speaking on a visit to Ulan-Bator last month, Putin said he would meet Obama in Moscow "with pleasure."
The world's other declared and presumed nuclear powers include, China, Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea.
Click to view image: '47c03c15cc44-ghahri20090611004427125.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|