MOSCOW - Russia may donate $2 million toward eliminating Syria's chemical weapons and is ready to offer expert help to the body tasked with the mission, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, has raised about 10 million euros ($13.5 million) to inspect Syrian chemical arms sites under a US-Russian agreement reached in September.
But it needs more funds to destroy more than 1,000 tons of chemical weapons declared by Syria.
"Russia, in principle, is ready to offer technical assistance, experts and perhaps financial assistance. This issue is being discussed, but the amount is somewhere around $2 million," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was quoted by the state-run RIA news agency as saying.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has said the total cost of the operation could be $1 billion. Experts believe it is likely to be less but will still run into tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on where and how the arms are destroyed.
The United States has been the biggest contributor to the OPCW's fund for the Syria mission, with Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland also contributing.