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Russia against U.S. missiles

Russia against U.S. missiles in any European anti-missile plans1

08/ 12/ 2008


MOSCOW, December 8 (RIA Novosti) - Any European missile defense network that includes elements of a U.S. missile shield in Poland and the Czech republic would be aimed against Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Moscow has fiercely opposed the planned U.S. deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, saying they will pose a threat to its national security. Washington has said the bases are necessary in order to counter possible strikes from "rogue" states such as Iran.

"According to the final communique of the NATO foreign ministers [after a December 2-3 meeting in Brussels], any version of the NATO missile defense network in Europe will include the elements of the U.S. global missile defense placed in Poland and the Czech Republic," spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a commentary posted on the ministry's web site.

"This statement allows us to conclude that the so-called 'integrated' European missile defense network will be aimed against Russia," Nesterenko said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier threatened to deploy Iskander-M short-range missiles in the country's Kaliningrad exclave, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, if the U.S. missile defense system was deployed in central Europe.

However, Medvedev subsequently said in an interview with France's Figaro newspaper that Russia could "reconsider this response if the new U.S. administration is ready to once again review and analyze all the consequences of its decisions to deploy the missiles and radar facilities."

Washington has provided new proposals to ease Russia's concerns over the planned European missile shield. New confidence-building steps, in particular, would allow Russian monitors access to missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia called the new U.S. proposals "insufficient" and insisted that the U.S. abandon its missile shield plans in Europe altogether.

A new round of talks in Moscow to discuss missile defense and other issues, including a new U.S. proposal to further limit strategic nuclear weapons on both sides is expected later this month.


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