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ST. PETERSBURG, June 20 (Itar-Tass) - The idea of Russia giving up nuclear weapons is a matter of a very distant future, the chairman of the international affairs committee at the Russian Federation Council, Mikhail Margelov, said on Tuesday commenting on intentions of US President Barack Obama to take further steps towards cuts in nuclear arsenals of the two countries.
Margelov, who is also Russian president’s special envoy for Africa, reminded the audience that Obama’s position to move towards global zero through gradual cuts in nuclear weapons was voiced back during his first presidential term and there is nothing new in it.
“From my point of view, of course the strategic idea is correct,” the senator said on the sidelines of the Petersburg International Economic Forum, marking that the former Soviet Union and then Russia have always said that nuclear weapons “is universal evil”. He stressed that Russia was never planning and does not plan to use nuclear weapons first, but in present day conditions the Russian nuclear potential is a guarantee of its security and stability.
“Now, when the non-proliferation regime does not work properly, when nuclear weapons and nuclear materials can be possessed by anyone who has money, we are not going to give up our nuclear potential so thoughtlessly and hastily,” Margelov stressed.
He said that Russia sees all initiatives of the US president with interest and due attention. “But we are not going to put the cart before the horse. We are ready to discuss this, but we understand that the idea of Russia giving up nuclear weapons is an idea of a very distant future, that is why at the moment we need our arsenals and we will keep them,” Margelov said.
On Wednesday, Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters that Barack Obama had informed Vladimir Putin about intentions to get back to the issue of the reduction of nuclear arsenals of the two countries. “President Obama informed our president in general terms that Americans are ready to offer some steps toward further cuts in nuclear arsenals,” Ushakov said, adding that the Russian side had listened to that information and made several remarks.
According to the Kremlin aide, other countries possessing nuclear weapons must join the processes of nuclear cuts. “Now the situation is far from that of the 1960s-1970s, when only the US and the Soviet Union discussed reductions in nuclear arsenals,” he said, marking that now the circle of participants in possible contacts on the issue must be broadened.