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. McSimych

    When Gorbachov agreed to break the Berlin wall and dismiss the Warsaw Treaty Organization he was promised by USA administration that East European countries would not be admitted to NATO. Gorbachov believed and was deceived. How can Medvedev and Putin now believe that NATO’s planned missile defense system is not directed against Russia? Russia is right to demand legally binding guarantees now.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • fellinivita

      No, its really more important to just send Obama there so he can 'bow'. He's very good at that.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustChill

      You would think that if invited to partisapate it would be a little more solid than a peice of paper...

      November 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ gung hoe:
    Good evening.
    Yeah, we agree on a lot of stuff.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rad666

    Sounds like time for sanctions on Russia.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karakatiza

      Are you insane? Russia has been in isolation for 50 years and learned to be self-sufficient. Your sanctions will accomplish nothing. Besides, they are part of the Security Council and, among few, regulates the stability in this world. Who's got the brains and the balls to bring any sanctions against Russia?

      November 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jeff

    Awesome!! obama has started WW3.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ


      We had a cold war with this nation for decades and decades. Even when we hated each other, no one had the guts to pull the trigger. Mutual annihilation is a pretty convincing argument.

      And Obama had zero to do with this. The missile defense system they object to pre-dates Obama considerably.

      Pick up a book.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      You clearly don't know who, as President, deployed these systems. Or that President Obama cut it back in 2009.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karakatiza

      It is not that dramatic. But I have to agree this is going to be a great challenge for Obama and his advisors to work through and not lose face.

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

    I thought Obama said hed fix all this stuff. I guess its all different when youre in the office.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Doosh-LaRooush

    I thought we were passed all of this?

    November 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Change

    Let's face it, this missile defense system is irrelevant and should not be implemented. There's no Islamic nation in the Middle East with the capability or capacity of striking Europe and such unforseen or projected threat is not even a concern to Europeans whatsoever. We have too much at stake here and should listen to the Russians so as to avoid the restart of another arms race and cold war. Furthermore, if there was ever a nuclear strike by an Islamic country down the road, God forbid, I believe that such strike would more or less be of minimal proportion that most likely would only involved a conventional nuclear device concealed in a container or such. And perhaps it is our reluctance to resolve this conflict with Russia that's the driving force behind Russia and China's inclination to abstain or vote against sanctions on Rouge states such as Iran. I just pray and hope that President Obama try to terminate this program for many reasons that also include continuing to have Russia's support and agreement on the recently anti-nuclear proliferation pact.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ExpectTheUnexpected

      You are right, I guess. Nor Iran nor any other middle east country (except Israel) will be able to deliver nuclear charge by air in the near future. Rocket science and nuclear technologies are very complex. And even if they manage to do this it will be a suicide. So what NATO and Russia doing now – trying to avoid any possibility of "The Sum of All Fears" scenario. In this case the only valid possibility is to attack Iran. And we have here another public opinion preparation. Now it's "If we don't solve Iran problem we'll have another Cold War". Expect another war campaign in 2012.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. redman83

    Russia has every right to be concerned. Obama needs to stop listening to warhawks and sign an updated treaty with them. We must use this as an opportunity to further improve economic stability between Eastern Europe and the US.

    Russia should never attack America and we should never attack them. Let's keep our allies instead of isolating ourselves.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LiberalNN

    Wooooo hooooo I miss the cold war bring it on!!

    November 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ


      We had a cold war with this nation for decades and decades. Even when we hated each other, no one had the guts to pull the trigger. Mutual annihilation is a pretty convincing argument.

      And Obama had zero to do with this. The missile defense system they object to pre-dates Obama considerably.

      Pick up a book.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      Sorry...previous is a mispost to the wrong post!

      November 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Samson

    So, Iranians are going to launch missiles against the US and Europe? During the war with Iraq, they refrained from using any chemical weapons despite being sprayed by missiles and chemicals by saddam's army. Why would they in their sane mind want to attack European countries two thousand miles away?

    November 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LiberalNN

    My last post was misleading. This is a political smoke screen so that both countries appear to be hostile while behind the scenes they discuss the real threat: Islam.

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

      Very true. A lot of political posturing going on here. No need to get too concerned.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matters

    "Legally binding" is not a term the Russians have respected and followed in the past. Their threat to retract their commitment in START, an agreement they signed, is evidence of this. Of course, the US hasn't been much better in this regard, when it comes to agreements with Russia. I say both sides just do what they want and see what happens. If the US is actually only concerned about attacks from the middle east, then nothing will happen between the US and Russia no mattter what steps are taken by each side.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hu

    Aw come on NATO, you want a one-world-order – trust your neighbors.
    With as many heads trying to govern NATO – it is like all of these backrupt countries keeping their balance sheets balanced isn't it.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Misty69

    I hate to say it but a WWWIII would stimulate the world economy/industry globally and also create a reduction in population.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johny

      Population to 0? If thats what u want for the economy to be good again? Moron

      November 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GIZZY

    All they want is some bailout money to sign the agreement

    November 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johny

      Don't remember Russia getting trillions in loans. Do u?

      November 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
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