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."

Post by: ,
Filed under: Military • NATO • Russia
soundoff (723 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Wish people would realize this missile shield is nothing more than a big black money pit that will never be used; I can't remember the cost but one test alone was roughly $100M. As for the threat from Iran, C'mon who are we kidding; they let one loose and Israel will turn Tehran into a parking lot for the next 10,000 years. iran would also not hit Europe given it's historical ties to Russia – its just too close.

    The only threat to us isn't the Russians or the Chinese or even the Iranians – its defense contractors making trillions while playing on ridiculous fears.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexx

      the defend system cost 100 BILLION dollars in research

      November 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • djwazu

      Wow! Someone has a clue.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • driranek

      What does us more good – a "defensive" system that has about a .00001% chance of ever being used or the same hundreds of billions on better education?

      November 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I agree in general with what you saying and I believe most "security threats" are played upon by defense contractors and politicians. One disagreement I have is your assessment on Iran. While I do not support many things the Israelis are engaged in such as their repression of the Palestinian populace, I am also not naive enough to believe Iran poses no threat what so ever to the region. Iranian people are rational and intelligent but the same can not be said for their leadership. The current theocracy certainly believes in the return of the Caliphate under their leadership and I for one believe they are extreme enough to use a nuclear weapon with such fanatical views. Definitely not calling for an invasion. We know how that turns out. But they should be isolated and defense measures in this case may be warranted.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    Russia has every right to request this, and demand it.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Yup, they should be granted the RIGHT to nuke any country in Europe on a moment's notice if they want it.


      November 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Not very productive to respond to a defensive system with a threat to install an offensive system . . .

    November 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Any defensive system also has an offensive component to it. A shield allows one to move closer to use their sword. Anti-aircraft guns allow one's ship to close the enemy and engage with guns, torpedoes, or missiles. And an anti-missile system (if it works) would allow one side to attack the other without fear of retaliation. When discussing nukes, that can be a dangerous scenario.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. driranek

    From the Romans to the British, many countries have tried policing the world. In every single case they spent so much to do it that they neglected what made them strong in the first place and became a second-rate country at best. Don't let it happen here... if it's not to late already.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • longbowbret

      Nice a person who has been out there 'policing'..I gotta say, I voluteered, I served, and I have no regrets. That said, I truly hope that our elected officials are smart enough to listen to pragmatic, intelligent advisors in making foreign policy decisions. That said, although I understand the Russian perspective (in a way), lets not kid ourselsves, they want to be able to 'nuke' to the west of their country (europe) if they want, whether for defense or offense...quite the chess game. Betcha' the current admininstration delays and pushes back everything so they don't have to make a decision..Not saying they are right or wrong, just saying they won't stand their ground.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      sell arms to Taiwan – great policing – instigate trouble rather than resolving issues through diplomacy – Russia does not want to nuke anyone – I dont think that any nation would want to do that – Would they America?

      November 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karakatiza

    Russia will do what it says if the US puts those radars in place in former USSR republics. Better believe it! But so what, the radars will function to protect NATO allies against Iran, they will just have Russian missles pointing at them and the force balance will be achieved.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    We should have marched straight to Russia after Berlin was liberated during WWII just like Patton suggested.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • VRinA2

      Sure, you should have first marched over Russians that ran over Berlin. Your words are just another proof of the wonders of the US education system!

      November 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      And the Russians would have simply fought a scorched-Earth retreat, until winter came, and we froze. Just like the Germans, French, Swedes, etc. Patton was brilliant, but far from perfect.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Have you ever bothered to study the logistics of World War II in Europe? The Russians are the ones who defeated Germany. D-Day and the Western front was an after-thought. We and the Briitish did not have nearly enough troops to "march" to Moscow, and Patton was a dope for even suggesting it.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      A good way to treat your allies – Russia did their part in the war – And McArthur wanted to nuke China – seems that Russia has good reason not to trust US – GWBush was another radical Hawk bent on world destruction

      November 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Yes, only to be swept by the Russian Army, which by the way, liberated Berlin, not US/Britts. At that time it was the strongest army in the world. You need to get better education on history, my friend. You need to know your potential enemies better... And Patton never said such words.

      November 24, 2011 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bogus

    Russians have always been paranoid of invasion since Hitler took a good run at them (10-15 million) in WW2. However, historically the greater threat has been from within since Stalin took out some 20 million of his own people. Why Russia thinks anyone would want to attack them is incomprehensible since no one could hope to hold the country after attack.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      I saw alot of paranoia last night during the GOP debate – so many perceived threats

      November 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      Russia sure did their part in WWII.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Galina

      The Soviet Union lost 27 millions, 600000 in Poland , 1000000 in Slovacia and etc, 1000000 in Leningrad blocade.... and Stalin's victims are 900 000 for 20 years,less than in USA jails
      And Don't forget USA has already killed people with atomic bombs twice

      November 24, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Resources, my friend, natural resources. Oil and gas. Nothing new...

      November 24, 2011 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mik

    Dobroe utro!
    I'm russian. When I heard Medvedev's speach today, the first thing I thought was "oh, f...k". I don't like it personally myself, as it really sounds like another Cold War start. But, after further thinking and reading the comments here, I'm starting to think about it as a reasonable step.
    Honestly, if US insists their missile defense system by no mean is offensive or threatening (like many commentators write here), what is the big deal for US to put this on a piece of paper and stamp? If you want us to believe in words only, so we may also give you a word, that Russian missiles will not attack any part of European defense system, it's just for our own feeling of safety. Will you, guys, be satisfied with that?

    November 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer


      November 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. J in NC

    Russia is starting to make the same old demands using the same style of rhetoric as they did during cold war. Russia and Iran are potential allies. Statements like this underline that.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      it appears you can read between the lines – your military industrial complex needs war to prosper – Carlyle group and Haliburton both got lucrative contracts because there were no WMDs in Iraq – I understand the need for saber rattling – to scare off a potential threat from happening. We have UNSC and would need absolute approval to go forward with any action against another nation – all we saw with Lybia was contract renewals to NATO nations. These actions showed Russia and China that the West has a different agenda and supports their own. Selling weapons to Taiwan and Georgia is not going to win friends and promote diplomacy. Military budget in US is far beyond any other nation.
      Stop the insanity and embrace humanity.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tiddingwright

    Here we go again. Didnt we learn from the first cold war. Waste no more time, time for our current leaders to go.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Might be time to re-study Eisenhower: Beware the military-industrial complex. A Republican President, an ex-General gave us that warning....

      November 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. djwazu

    Who in their right mind would trust the russians?

    November 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      but there are many MANY more reasons to not trust the US and it's western "allies"

      November 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      trust whomever you feel you need to – if it makes you feel nice

      November 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Let's not forget: only the USA has ever used nuclear weapons against another country.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Yep, don't trust anyone. Never.

      November 24, 2011 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. us1776

    Russia, come on.

    We got religious nutcase government in Iran out there and possibly Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Nobody is interested in being a threat to Russia.


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

      C'mon America – Situation in the Middle East needs to be resolved – Its not as if Israel has been a good role model for the world when it comes to humanity and War Crimes.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GIUK

    Medvedev is talking out of both sides of his tolstak. The Iskander missile is a mobile system. So, even if The US doesn’t deploy its missile defense system, Russia can and will deploy the Iskander anytime, and anywhere, it wants.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      that was a state secret – are you KGB

      November 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Wat's 'tolstak'?

      November 24, 2011 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. TAK

    Any nation that would object to Europe shielding itself is saying "We are your enemy. Someday we may wish to attack you and this missile shield will be most inconvenient to our plans". It's like installing locks on your front door. Only a burglar would object. Thanks for showing us your true intentions, Russia.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      I dont agree – If you set up a situation in which you limit your "perceived" enemy's capabilities – then you basically can dictate terms – Russia should not be expected to agree to such terms – Your front door lock analogy is weak because the burglar can always use the back door or break a window – America is showing Russia their true intentions when they supported Georgia and Saksisilly. It takes 2 to tango – Russia is a good dancer as well.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      LOL! Talk about trust here!!!

      November 24, 2011 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Really

    Welcome to the Big League Mr. Obama......Let's see how that diplomacy thingy you touted works........Already sounds like you are using Bush's arguments however..........Hmmmmm

    November 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26