MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia could abandon nuclear weapons if other nuclear powers - official and unofficial - scrap them, the Russian prime minister said on Wednesday.
Asked by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier if he believed Russia could be secure without nuclear weapons, Vladimir Putin said: "You bet."
"Why do we need nuclear weapons?" he said. "Did we invent them or did we ever use them? If those who made the atomic bomb and used it are ready to abandon it, and if, as I hope, other powers that possess them [weapons] officially or unofficially are ready to do the same, we will heartily welcome and promote this process."
He added that Germany could make a valuable contribution to the process.
The official "nuclear club" comprises Russia, the United States, China, Britain and France, but Pakistan and India also possess nuclear weapons and North Korea conducted its second nuclear test on May 25.
In addition, Israel is widely suspected to have a nuclear arsenal.