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. Reflecto

    The only reason Russia would be concerned about a system arrayed against intermediate range missiles targeting Europe is if they are planning to attack Europe. ICBM trajectories are trans-polar. This system is of no threat to their ICBM oe SLBM deterrent forces. It is only a threat, inasmuch as a defensive system can be a threat, to Russian IRBM's targeting Europe – and they aren't supposed to have any of those anymore. Why are they so worried about a limited defensive system designed to shoot down Iranian missiles? Have they illegally placed IRBM's within striking distance of Western Europe? Their paranoid reaction over this system certainly appears to indicate that they are planning to attack Europe with missiles that were supposedly eliminated by the INF treaty. What is Russia hiding?

    November 24, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Petersburger

      Reflecto, ICBM's trajectories should NOT be polar! It can be sent to ANY direction!
      Russia tests own missiles sending them from Barenc sea to pacific. How is that "polar"?
      Check how USA send its rockets from California to south pacific – how is that "polar"?

      November 24, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Reflecto

      Correction: ICBM's on ATTACK trajectories are transpolar. ICBM's on a test trajectory can go in any direction. However, since the entire point of the Russian ICBM's is to attack America, then the only course that matters for strategic purposes is the one over the pole.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Petersburger

      Reflecto, you are wrong again! Yes, SHORTEST and FASTEST way for ICBM's from US to Russia and vice versa is through north pole. But it does not mean they SHOULD be sent that way – on ATTACK or any other trajectories. As well, they can be sent from subs. Moreover, they can be sent through Europe, or Pacific, or even through South Pole. Moreover, for missile shield to work it is NOT needed for trajectory to pass through shield base on the earth surface – it just should be as close to missile path as range of this shield. Generally, missile shield placed at Poland will work great both to shoot down Iranian missile sent to Europe and Russian one sent to USA from European part of Russia.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. BombardierBob

    Typical Russian BS of the Cold War Era! This is them coming out of their holes and starting phase II of the Cold War. Phase One ended with them saying they went broke but actually they made it seem that way to get the west to pay for them to rebuild stronger from the sales of their oil and gas till it is time to start phase II. Bravo Russia, never trusted you in the past and still never trusting you now or in the future. Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer!

    November 24, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Here's another right-wing idiot spewing his anti-Russian ignorance on this web page! This bla-bla-bla never ends!!!

      November 24, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. A0297

    БУРГЕРЫ Не лезьте туда куда не надо!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 24, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • McSimych

      Absolutely. Mind your own business in America. Why Europe? Why Europe without Russia? Why Europe against Russia?

      November 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gary

    TO: 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..." .

    Dear Reflecto, do not be naive, otherwise you are easily manipulated. Whatever defensive the shield is named, there are still missiles at its core. It is like having a gun at home – most of times it is defensive, but someday when you go nuts, you go for a shootout... and do not call us Russkies – actually there is nothing wrong with it, but it feels you are trying to put some negative meaning into it.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Reflecto

      Your comments reflect a total lack of understanding about modern ABM systems. These missiles don't even have warheads. They can't attack your cities or even your aircraft They work by impacting the warhead of an incoming ballistic missile and destroying it with kinetic energy. They only work at the fringes of space against targets moving at near orbital velocities. The only reason anyone in Russia needs to be concerned about this system is if they are planning to attack Western Europe with illegally emplaced intermediate range ballistic missiles. Russia signed the INF treaty and agreed to destroy most of their IRBM's and move the rest east of the Urals. If Russia is honoring the treaty, they have absolutely no cause for concern. And don't worry, I'm not easily manipulated by propagandists. That is more a Russian trait – ask your zampolit, he'll tell you what you believe.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      REFLECTO: "These missiles don't even have warheads" – what a letdown! Honestly, I never knew this American PRO thing is nothing more that big iron bolts! Then – you don't need to worry – there are no warheads at Russian missiles too! If this is true what you are saying expertlike then why all the fuss about your government avoiding to state it in writing at all costs for 4 years now?

      November 24, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      REFLECTO: good Zampolit always told about true values – love to Motherland, family, kids, respect for elders, respect for people of other origins, assistance to the weak... This is the sort of propaganda I really like!

      November 24, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • MadMax

      Reflecto: > The only reason Russia would be concerned about a system arrayed against intermediate range missiles targeting Europe is if they are planning to attack Europe. ICBM trajectories are trans-polar.

      ICBMs trajectories are not necessarily trans-polar. In fact the massive strike must come from all directions in order to be ineluctable. And now NATO may have one direction closed.

      November 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bernardwesly

    Why can't war be settled through Twitter trollings instead...

    November 24, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. Desmond

    Just ignore the Russians. They are harmless without communism.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • MadMax

      just ignore road signs and traffic lights, it's harmless with no cops around

      November 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe the Plumber

    Medvedev is a Nobody, Putin, the exKGB monster is running things. Who cares what Russia, a police state, thinks?

    November 24, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Arugula

      Dear Joe the Plumber. Have you ever lived in Russia? I lived in the US for many years and, may God be my witness, I have never ever seen a more police state than the USA! Today's Russia by comparison is made of freedom. The USSR was actually close to the US as far as police states go. So, stop believing everything your government and your bankers are telling you and start using your brain.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Here goes another right-wing idiot vomiting his anti-Russian ignrance on this website. Joey the Plumber, bah, it should read Joey the Nobody because all ignorant people are nobodies!!!

      November 24, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Blessed Geek

      Joe – you are twalking NWONSENSE. The USSR (United Silly State of Russia) is nwot a pwolice state. It is a Mafia state. Get you fwacts rwight. It is a Mafia state becwause they have no pwolice on the streets or the pwolice is pwart of their mafia.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gary

    TO: Albert figueroa and your fear of red flags.
    It's a paradox – the lives of ordinary people in the US, Europe and USSR were far better during cold war than now. Our government may have hated the western and US governments, but we ordinary people in the USSR surely did not. I remember my childhood years in the USSR – everyone had a job and was protected. Most of our citizens were neither poor nor rich. We had our limitations but they pale in comparison to what troubles we do have now: only money rules (not conscience) with all the consequences entailed. I myself wonder that more and more young Russians start hating the US! It's even become a fashion trend! So with the help of Obama/Bush/McCane we go RED again soon! The elections are coming!

    November 24, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • IVAN

      Деньги правят везде и в США и в России. И еще не известно где в большей мере!!!

      November 24, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Паоло

      я согласен с Вами!

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

      Гарри, возможно однажды люди мира объединятся в общее дело избавления себя политиков. Российские люди, красивые люди. Благодарим Вас за ваши теплые слова.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Darlington

    But quiet serious i don't understand why the US will have Nuke and doesn't want other nation to have it ... i ask is it their birth right?

    November 24, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      No Darlington, nobody has a birth right on nuclear weapons athough the U.S. is the only country to ever have used them in warfare. Just pay no attention to the right-wing thugs in Washington and their lies over that!!!

      November 24, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Паоло

    Я устал от политики и политиков. Когда мы собираемся вместе? Это только справедливо, что Obama подписывает соглашение с Россией, обещая не напасть России. Как мы (американцы) чувствовали бы с российские ракеты на Кубе или Венесуэла? Пришло время сделать русские наших друзей. Они хотят мира и stibility так же, как и мы. Русские люди являются хорошими людьми.

    November 24, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      ПАОЛО: спасибо тебе за то, что ты стараешься общаться по русски. Я согласен с тобой полностью. Я уверен, что пора перестать относиться друг к другу с подозрением или ненавистью. Простые люди в Америке и России хотят жить в мире, спокойно работать, заботиться о своих детях и быть уверенными в завтрашнем дне.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • McSimych

      You are right, Paolo. It's time we stop regarding each other as enemies and start being together against common threats. That's what Medvedev says.

      November 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. outawork

    Maybe Poland should take back Kaliningrad which Russia stole from them after WWII.

    November 24, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • MadMax

      wasn't it German? Heard anything of Eastern Prussia?

      November 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • MadMax

      and btw it's Poland who now owns 2/3 of ex-Eastern Prussia, while Russia only possesses 1/3. let Poland lend it to Germany first 🙂

      November 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dafgat

    Hi. Are you scared? This is so funny. american citizens just able to speak, not able to take a responsibility for the war they starting here. This is my country. This is my home. And I'll be protect it to the end. I think it's not a big deal if we destroy some things there. Occasionaly of course. Good luck.

    November 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Peter villalobos

    drive east,toward the Caucuses,Von Manstien!

    November 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leoneed

    Главное что всех нас объединяет идея мира во всем мире, но пока большинство людей не прозреет – нас так и будут сталкивать лбами, люди всего мира имеющие представление о доброте о чести о любви и о уважении должны наконец открыть глаза и узнавать правду, и не верить СМИ, нами манипулируют как овцами, вспомните конфлик в грузии, ираке, египте, сейчас в сирии и потом в иране, вы хотите жить?? или хотите быть безмозглым стадом?

    November 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Peter

    One has to be rather dumb if one doesn't see this shield is 100% solely targeting Russian deterrent power.
    An old American/euro dream, a defenseless Russia, ripe for the taking. Remember "The Great Game"?

    If I were Medvedev I'd target the US with their new tech MIRV missiles. If some tea bagger fanatic gets elected it is better to let them know Rapture might come swiftly if they attack Russia.

    November 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
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