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. Concerned

    So now Iran is a bad guy. Missile shield is supposed to be protecting against the Iranian "threat".
    Lets imagine a scenario when Russia bomb Iran to Hell and back. What happens next – will US insist on placing the "shield" anyway given the threat is gone or everybody will blame Russia for the blodshed?

    November 24, 2011 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Russia is building Iran's Nuclear weapons. It has also just sold Iran the most sophisticated anti air system in the world... The silence of the media on this is deafening although it is no secret at all....

      November 24, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • MadMax

      mike: you are either with CIA (and that explains the facts only you know about) or with some mental hospital (and that would explain your paranoia)

      November 24, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Adrian

    Why is Russia so concern with this shield?

    ...they must be doing something wrong, in order to be so defensive/hostile about this shield

    November 24, 2011 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      Why? imagine foreign missiles at your border (don't know where you are from). Just couple of thousands miles from your capital. Think you gonna feel relaxed and friendly and not so defensive and hostile.

      November 24, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Petersburger

      Because once it implemented – in case of any nuclear attack on Russia we should FIRST nuke this shield and so – europe will disappear – and only after it makes sence to nuke those who nuked us. It is too expencive. We would prefer to spent that money – say, at Greece hotels, instead.

      November 24, 2011 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
    • peter

      Of course NATO is totally not guilty about anything and we all know the peaceful USA ways of getting what they want. USA is not an agressor of course so Russia has nothing to fear. USA just is rigging up democracy very successfully in Afghanistan and Lybia and spreading that gospel by their naval presence on all the seas with innocent ships of war.
      So Medvedev must be reasonable and turn a blind eye on all the USA wars and let the USA build an innocent defense shield. Poland is obviously precisely in the way between Iran and W-Europ that enjoys the NATO=USA protection. That route will bring Iranian nuclear bombs to the extreme north of Canada and we must recognize that Iran therefore threatens New York.

      November 24, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Ram

      @Petersburger Europe would disappear? France and UK and nr 3 and 4 nuclear powers. They would use all their nuclear missiles to destry Moscow if the defense shield is attacked.

      November 24, 2011 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Petersburger

      @RAM. Of course you will. But this will not help you to be alive. When you will start you will be already nuked.
      It is just rule of war. Anti-misisles sites should be nuked 1st. So – EU just decided to be 1st in list. USA will be 2d.
      That is your role as "shield",

      November 24, 2011 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Ram

      Petersburger The UK and France have advanced weapon systems. They can detect a warhead flying over Poland, Germany, etc. Its a very long distance to reach for example France. The UK and France have more advanced nuclear weapons than Russia. And they have submarines on every corner of the world.

      November 24, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Darlington

      Look my friend in writing this the US might call me any name ...But look at it this way i don't think the Russians are doing anything hideous because the territory their's and not the US territory so now the question is why is the US trying to control everybody by establishing presence everywhere?

      November 24, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Petersburger

      RAM: You misunderstand – missile shield places will be nuked, not UK or France. And it is not needed – world will be finished anyway. It is law of war, nothing against EU countries they are placed at. Law is – any strike should get imminent and full range answer. It means by any ways, shield should be nuked off 1st.
      To nuke, say, Poland or other places where that shield placed – only few minutes needed, cause they are near Russian border. No need in ballistic missiles at all – so – shields or other things alike are useless.It is short range. And your idea to stay alive if Russia is nuked....looks like a bit against TALKS, isn't it?

      November 24, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ruski

    davaiiiiiiii!!!

    November 24, 2011 at 4:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ivan Ivanov

    All real politician in US,EU,Russia, China, Israel understand that the first massive missile attack will be "one-way ticket to hell" for all of them

    November 24, 2011 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Petersburger

      Is it same REAL POLITICIANS who can not find hundred thousands tons of WMDs?
      Why anyone would believe their words after that?

      November 24, 2011 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hols

    Yanks are terrified of anyone opposing them. If they had more money they might do something about it but as they are skinned and owe money even before they are born they can only moan and try to sound clever. This sheild is more like a wet blanket for NATO

    November 24, 2011 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gary

    Hi, I am from Novosibirsk, Russia. You may remember that it's been more than 4 years that the US has been developing this shield in Europe. The Bush Administration started all this and we thought that Obama was sound enough to change the course. Verbally Americans keep on saying this shield is defensive and we are friends – you don't have to worry about anything – we are the good guys, but when Russia asks for some written legal statement about the shield being not targeted at Russia – always denial. Thus, what's left for us to think?

    November 24, 2011 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Ram

      You are right.

      November 24, 2011 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Reflecto

      How exactly can a defensive weapon be targeted and anything except an incoming missile? Why are you Russkies so worried about a purely defensive system? Are you planning to attack Europe? Because if you aren't, this system is of no concern to you.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Darlington

      Your right Gary, US policies works for themselves alone so they should take it back ...will the UK and French allow that at their back yard? Because the Governments in Africans and the Middle east allow them do anything they like because they are afraid them?

      November 24, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark (Italia)

      Reflecso: Why is it your (US) business to put your military bases in Europe, near Russia?

      November 25, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. egonomist

    Hi, I'm from Samara, Russia. I understand why it is advantageous to Europe.
    I understand why Russia opposes. I understand why Us wants it.
    We are all afraid! Fear of losing power!

    November 24, 2011 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. captain kirk

    Red alert. Shields Up!

    November 24, 2011 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ron

    I say deploy the shield. Once they see that there is only enough "shield" to stop a handful of missiles, the Russians will ignore it. What scares them is a shield that could grow to the point of giving the US and advantage. If we deploy it respective to Iran, they're more likely to see they're simply paranoid.

    November 24, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Petersburger

      Only fools may trust to country which was not able to find 1/2 million tons of wmd's with location known for sure.

      November 24, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mr. Brazil

    Russia should put some "defensive system" in cuba too, and watch the united states freak out,
    America wants the world in their hand, and if they are dealing with weak countries like afeganistan or iraq oposing them, they go right ahead and bomb them, now when they mess with Russia, they know better because the Russians dont F around.

    November 24, 2011 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Reflecto

      Feel free. Spend all you want on it. ICBM's go north. Cuba is south.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. GFreeman

    Concerned: I am glad to see at least one of you who writes reasonable things. With regard to our country (am russian) – we will just have election on Dec 4. I think it's their (party) another clownery mainly for us))

    November 24, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. NFN8

    Rightly so. Why should other governments deny their own rights to sovereignty? American agendas are not the only agendas that matter in this world. Being a citizen means supporting the right way forward, not just any way forward for our country. We are overstepping our boundaries all over this planet and alienating others who are just as justified in supporting different points of view as we are supporting our own. Pull it back america, reign it in, we are not invincible to self-destruction by bullheaded single viewed aristocrats. There are other ways of doing things that work for more than just us.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Albert figueroa

    We have just recently bowed down to the chinese when they directly threatened war against the united states if we were to attack pakistan. this was in may, here we are 6 months later and chinas long time allie now starts barking threats. The next country that threatens the united states will definatley be an other allie of the red flags. when are we going to open our eyes fully and understand that every country that is really allied with russia and or china or under sanctions by the united states have all thier nuclear capabilities poised and ready to go at moments notice directly to the united states. if we are going to build missile shields to help defend vulnerable countries that otherwise would be trampled by the red flags, why do we stop building everytime a red flag country threatens us with war. The united states is not to deal with terrorists or communists, here we are dealing with both. if you threaten a person or a country with death by annialation like osama bin laden you must be a terrorist. How many threats is too many, and when will it be before they stop threatening and start firing. Lets not give them a chance to prove themselves. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    November 24, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Darlington

      if Russia should put some "defensive system" in cuba too,how would you view it?

      November 24, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Darlington

      I think Russia needs to put some "defensive system" in cuba too, or somewhere in the South America lets see how they react

      November 24, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • MadMax

      Albert figueroa: where could you found a 'war threat' from any red-flag in this article? GOD SAVE AMERICA FROM SUCH PARANOID IGNORANT MORONS!!

      November 24, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark (Italia)

      Well done, MadMax. I hope you are American, otherwise, after reading the badly written and totally lunatic gibberish by Albert figueroa, one does begin to worry... Red-flags... Honestly!...

      November 25, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Lisa

    Blame the US for this all you like but who has the history of attacking Europe? The US or Russia? Hmmm, let's ask Poland.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Arugula

      European countries were at constant war with each other up until the second part of the 20th century. Russia was constantly under attack from everybody: Poland, Sweden, France, Germany, etc. Why are you forgetting this so quickly? Once again, when Krushchev deployed Soviet missiles on Cuba, JFK went berserk, even though those were just "a shield" against American invasion of Cuba (which was very real by the way). Meanwhile, the US missiles were stationed in Turkey pointing directly at the Russian territory from across a little pond called Black Sea. What was the resolution back than? To find out, read the correspondence between JFK and Kruchschev, which was made public in the US about 10 years ago. It is a fascinating read and it will surprise you. This so-called shield is a direct threat to Russia. Just the words "don't worry, it's not against you" simply won't do. It's the same thing as always: the US have theirs, so Russia must have theirs too. Simply letting it go would be stupid, as simple as that. Oh, and US desperately needs a war to help it's dying economy. And the war has already began.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Freedom

      Lisa: sure, US do not have the history of attacking Europe – because there is no oil there!

      November 25, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. mike

    Russia is building Iran's Nuclear weapons. It has also just sold Iran via Syria the most sophisticated anti- air system in the world...You wonder why they dont want a defense system against it, it is a threat they have caused and earn lots of money from... The silence of the media on this is deafening.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • MadMax

      mike: 'The silence of the media on this is deafening' while you keep hearing the voices inside your head telling you about those 'facts'?

      November 24, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mik

      My friend, stop giving BS about Russia building nuclear weapons in Iran, Syria etc. You better ask Mr. Obama where did he hide WMD, that was found by brave US Marines in Saddam Hussein's house. Or yeah, and we all know that implementing by NATO of flight-free zone over Lybia has ended by massive air strikes and slaughtering of legitimate head of state by a bunch of islamists. Go, America, go!

      November 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
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