President Dmitry Medvedev
Photo: AFP
US President Barack Obama
Photo: EPA

Medvedev: Russia may target US missile defense sites

Moscow increases pressure on US, NATO, to reach deal on missile defense plans over Europe

Russia will deploy new missiles aimed at US missile defense sites in Europe if Washington goes ahead with a planned shield despite Russia's concerns, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.


Russia will station missiles in its westernmost Kaliningrad region and other areas if Russia and NATO fail to reach a deal on the US-led missile defense plans, he said in a tough statement that seemed to be aimed at rallying domestic support.


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Russia considers the plans for missile shields in Europe, including in Romania and Poland, to be a threat to its nuclear forces, but the Obama Administration insists they are meant to fend off a potential threat from Iran.


Moscow has agreed to consider NATO's proposal last fall to cooperate on the missile shield, but the talks have been deadlocked over how the system should operate. Russia has insisted that the system should be run jointly, which NATO has rejected.


המערכת שמרגיזה את רוסיה. סוללת טילי פטריוט אמריקנית (צילום: AP)

(Photo: AP)


Medvedev also warned that Moscow may opt out of the New START arms control deal with the United States and halt other arms control talks if the US proceeds. The Americans had hoped that the treaty would stimulate further ambitious arms control efforts, but such talks have stalled over tension on the missile plans.


"The United States and its NATO partners as of now aren't going to take our concerns about the European missile defense into account," a stern Medvedev said, adding that if the alliance continues to "stonewall" Russia it will take retaliatory action.


The US plan calls for placing land- and sea-based radars and interceptors in European locations over the next decade and upgrading them over time.


Medvedev warned that Russia will deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, a Baltic Sea exclave bordering Poland, and place weapons in other areas in Russia's west and south to target US missile defense sites.


Medvedev added that prospective Russian strategic nuclear missiles will be fitted with systems that would allow them to penetrate prospective missile defenses.


He and other Russian leaders have made similar threats in the past, and the latest statement appears to be aimed at domestic audience ahead of Dec. 4 parliamentary elections.


Medvedev, who is set to step down to allow Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reclaim the presidency in March's elections, leads the ruling United Russia party list in the parliamentary vote.


A stern warning to the US and NATO issued by Medvedev seems to be directed at rallying nationalist votes in the polls.




פרסום ראשון: 11.23.11, 17:12
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