Russia: Address concerns or we'll target missile shield
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks about NATO's planned missile shield from his residence in Gorki on Wednesday.
November 23rd, 2011
03:10 PM ET

Russia: Address concerns or we'll target missile shield

Russia may deploy missiles that it says could destroy NATO’s planned missile defense system in Europe - and withdraw from an arms control treaty with the United States - if Russia’s concerns about the shield aren’t addressed, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

Medvedev also announced that Russia will take a series of immediate steps that includes equipping new ballistic missiles “with advanced missile defense penetration systems” and drawing up plans to disable missile shield guidance systems.

“If (those immediate steps) prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the U.S. missile defense system in Europe,” Medvedev said in a live address on Russian television. “One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad region.”

Russia also could pull out of the New START arms control agreement with the United States that Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama signed a year and a half ago.

“Conditions for our withdrawal from the New START Treaty could also arise, and this option is enshrined in the treaty,” Medvedev said.

Although NATO has said that the shield will protect Europe from attacks from areas such as the Middle East and not from Russia, the Russian government is concerned that the shield is meant to undermine its nuclear deterrent.

NATO has offered to have Russia participate in the shield, but Russia has said it is not satisfied with negotiations. Russia wants legally binding guarantees that the system won’t be used against it. The Obama administration has made clear that the president will not sign such a document.

“Our requests that they set this out on paper in the form of clear legal obligations are firmly rejected,” Medvedev said. “We will not agree to take part in a program that in a short while, in some six to eight years’ time, could weaken our nuclear deterrent capability.”

The United States and NATO are planning a missile defense shield using land- and sea-based SM-3 interceptors in places such as in Poland and Romania. Turkey would be one of the countries hosting radar systems for the project.

Last month, Ellen Tauscher, the U.S. State Department undersecretary for arms control and international security, told the Atlantic Council Missile Defense Conference in Washington that NATO hopes to declare an initial missile defense capability at its summit in Chicago in May. The last phase, in which the shield would cover all European NATO allies, has a 2018 target date, she said.

Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, said Wednesday that the United States “has been open and transparent with Russia on our plans for missile defense in Europe, which reflect a growing threat to our allies from Iran that we are committed to deterring.”

“In multiple channels, we have explained to Russian officials that the missile defense systems planned for deployment in Europe do not and cannot threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent," Vietor said. "Implementation of the New START Treaty is going well, and we see no basis for threats to withdraw from it.

“We continue to believe that cooperation with Russia on missile defense can enhance the security of the United States, our allies in Europe and Russia, and we will continue to work with Russia to define the parameters of possible cooperation. However, in pursuing this cooperation, we will not in any way limit or change our deployment plans in Europe.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that the “suggestion that deployment of missiles in the areas neighboring the alliance is an appropriate response to NATO’s system is very disappointing.”

“Such deployments would be reminiscent of the past and are inconsistent with the strategic relations NATO and Russia have agreed they seek and with the spirit of the dialogue, including on missile defense issues, that they are currently conducting,” he said in a statement released by NATO.

Still, Rasmussen welcomed Medvedev's “willingness not to close the door on continued dialogue with NATO and the U.S. on missile defense and to consider practical cooperation in this area.”

Tauscher said last month that as a partner in the system, Russia would “continue to be able to confirm that the system is directed against launches originating outside Europe and not from Russia.” She also said that the system will have “no capability to counter Russian strategic forces, given their location, numbers and advanced technology.”

She said the United States is willing to give Russia a guarantee in writing but not make it a legal matter. “We cannot provide legally binding commitments, nor can we agree to limitations on missile defenses, which must necessarily keep pace with the evolution of the threat. But through cooperation we can demonstrate the inherent characteristics of the system and its inability to undermine Russian deterrent forces or strategic ability,” she said last month.

Medvedev said Wednesday that Russia is “ready to discuss additional modifications to the system, taking into account our NATO partners’ views” and will “continue the dialogue with the USA and NATO on this issue.”

“There is still time to reach an understanding,” Medvedev said. “Russia has the political will to reach the agreements needed in this area, agreements that would open a new chapter in our relations with the USA and NATO."

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Filed under: Military • NATO • Russia
soundoff (723 Responses)
  1. adam el tani

    it looks like the cold war will have a part 2.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO

    A quick question for you all. Does anyone out there trust Russia 100%? I don't think I ever did.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      How many foreign nations, friend or foe, trust the United States's foreign policy 100%. We like to keep em guessing!

      November 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Why should I trust US ?

      November 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      Say what you want about the US, but they don't sell weapons and nuclear technology to terrorist sponsor countries. I don't remember them ever poisoning critics with polonium-210 or bombing apartment buildings in their own country then blaming Chechens.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • long arm of the lawl

      I wish that were true. We armed Osama and Saddam in our efforts against the USSR. To some extent, we contributed to the rebels, insurgents, and terrorists we now fight. On this front I think the only big picture difference is semantic - defined by which side the writer is on. When nation A arms "freedom fighters" they are arming nation B's "rebels, insurgents, and terrorists." If nation X takes down a "dictator" in nation Y, residents of that nation Y may see nation X as an "invader and usurper." For the current middle eastern wars, I think the only clear difference between "freedom fighters" and "terrorists" is tactics on the ground. While the US is advanced in preventing civilian casualties, enemy combatants easily become "terrorists" when they detonate themselves in a civilian area. The devil is in the details.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samson

      BOMBO – An apartment building was too puny for the US. Twin Towers and the Pentagon building were more appropriate and needed to start new fires all over the world and justify a $700 Bl "defense" budget.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • too bad

      one would have to be a complete idiot to trust any government

      November 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      obombo, reagan sold arms to Iran. So was Iran a terrorist sponsor or not? Cant have it both ways.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chayal

      I agree, I never trusted Russia either, especially since Putin has been in power. However, you're wrong about the US not delivering weapons to countries who support terrorists (i.e. Egypt-Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia-Various Groups, Lebanon[suspended]-Hezbollah).

      November 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nas

      Yeah Bombo, you are way off. long arm of the lawl thank you for your great response. Adn also, Chechnya is an internal issue and some of the people there are terrorists who kill Russians in the surrounding area as well as attack the capital. You weren't there at the multiple Moscow subway bombings of innocent people that have nothing to do with politics. At least Russia isn't going off and blaming every country in the Middle East and occupying them on their "efforts against terrorism." what a lie. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran.... look at what's going on in your own country U.S.! People are starving because you spend all your money on weapons.

      November 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BOMBO

    Russia is like Hyman Roth in Godfather II. As Pentangeli said "your father did business with Hyman Roth, your father respected Hyman Roth, but your father never trusted Hyman Roth."

    November 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Obama12

    Talk about overreaction from Russia. Here's why. Eastern European countries want to be part of NATO, and Russia thinks that we are planning to attack them, which is most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. We are aiming zero missiles at Russia while Medvedev is threatening to "Take Out" the missile shield. The missile shield is not meant to be offensive. We are not the bully in this case, and Russia needs to handle this a lot better than they are right now.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ferro

      Isn't it a bit of jaw-rattling? "Our requests that they set this out on paper in the form of clear legal obligations are firmly rejected,” Medvedev said." OK, so what about a written declaration of will?! Why the Administration has refused to provide one?! Nobody there who could read and write? If the system is declared to be defensive, just write it down! But if not... hey guys, let's talk about the stupid Russkies who don't believe it to defensive.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • UrMom

      @Ferro – Paragraph 18, Sentence 1

      November 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      How would Russia (or how would you) know how many missiles are pointing at russia?

      November 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andreas Moser

    Russia, isn't it a bit unoriginal to threaten NATO's planned missile defense system with – exactly – missiles?

    November 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    This may be just what we need.
    I remember that we were all eating very well in this country when we thought that the Russians were coming.
    I wish I had my old copies of Ayn Rand books.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      If you have Rush 2112 around, maybe you can use that instead.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    Initially from this article i was like oh crap! But after furrther digging, all Russia is looking for is a legal guarantee that the US missile defense systems around the border of Rusia are not pointed towards them in a threatening way. And as of now they have not gotten that guarantee. Honestely is that so hard for the USA to do.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama12

      Joe, how can a missile defense shield be threatening?

      November 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat ( in a hat )

      Threatening in the sense that we would be able to put our missles on them, and we would theoretically be able to ward theirs off with the shield.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • neoritter

      lol really? Why would the US ever sign a legally binding agreement that NATO won't try to defend a country from a nuclear or advanced missile attack from Russia? That makes no sense. Hell, Russia wanting that is basically saying, "At some point in the future we plan to attack you."

      Makes total sense...

      November 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bobcat ( in a hat )

    Cold War part deaux. We gotta whole lot of sabre rattling again. Remember when Kruschev said "WE will bury you" ?
    Well, here we go again.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ethan

    A. Stop spending money on European defense B. Stop getting in others' business C. Russia is over reacting. RON PAUL 2012!

    November 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Houston

      S K R E W Ron Paul...

      November 24, 2011 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. guest 911

    Gotta love those ruskies–anything for a laugh!

    November 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©


    November 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    Well here we go WW3! Because it wont be JUST US against Russia. The war to end all wars the Bible says. 🙁

    November 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveNYUSA

      Well, if you are going to ruin the US, you'd better get on it. Obarry already has a 3 year head start on you.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • UrMom

      bible shmible... use your g@dd@mn brain

      November 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George Patton

    Russia has every right to defend itself against the right wing thugs in Washington. If they want to launch missiles first, and get then through the 'shield', so be it! The survivors will then rebuild, to make the perfect communist society!!

    November 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    Well i say most definetly put up the dayum shields! You stick to youre guns OBAMA, guess hes not so spineless after all!

    November 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    @BOMBO: word.
    @chrissy: oh, we both know that Obama is anything *but* spineless... 😉

    November 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
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