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. Huw

    I think we should just throw Putin and Obama in a ring together and let them fight it out. Bring it on!

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

      Good idea. But don't get carried away. We need him alive. Bin Biden is in the wings. God help us.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alan Catz

    Suggestion: Put the tensions aside, and invite the Russian President and several select/involved politburo members to Disneyworld for a few days: Sleep-in, enjoy the attractions, and treat to food and beverage agreeable to the guests. I can't imagine better negotiations than some mind-soothing rest, coupled with genuine laughter/dialogue and continental breakfasts/wining and dining.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. fred ca

    Gee...a country run by a former KGB officer, who hand picks his front men and is tightening his level of total control within Russia engages in saber rattling (please tell me that no one believes his lapdog is barking without his master's direction)and some people are surprised? Add to the mix that the US president, who has done 'duck and cover' on previous provacations, is an intellectual waste who can not react unless his teleprompter tells him what to say...hmmm,could lead to increasing tensions...and danger.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alina1

    We will take our hypothetical missiles and destroy your hypothetical shield. Medvediv is trying to look tough, after all its election yearll for him too.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    Just more evidence of the coming storm.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Factors

    Apocalypse now?

    November 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)

      No Apocalypse next year.

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

    Irony of ironies Russia, now you know how it feels to be on the receiving end of your own Cuban Missile Crisis.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johny

      Really?Not as upstet as was usa back in a day

      November 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • xzanthius

      The soviets needed missiles in Cuba to even the odds after missiles were placed in the UK, Italy and Turkey. The West provoked first.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    Wait, so Russia is okay with the missile defense system as long as it can not be used if Russia decides to attack???? Not sure I would want anyone to sign a legal guarantee like that. This has nothing to do with Russia feeling threatened....

    November 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    The Russians don't understand that America has Manifest Destiny. America has the God-given right to rule the world. And we wonder why our taxes are so high.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nell

    WoW!!!! WW3 may start..... Tell the Russians to go bite themselves. We'll kick their butts!!!!

    November 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • fellinivita

      America doesn't even have the guts. Or the brains.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • fellinivita

      They do, however, know how to use a credit card. That might be useful.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. reel American

    This is all Obama's fault We need George W. back then we coul bomb the crap out of Russia "GO TEA PARTY"

    November 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Corey

    I'm moving to Mars! whos with me!

    November 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jack

    Oh, Poor russia, long and forgotten. we must make some noise so the world does not forget us!!!!! Don't worry about US, worry about the Panda sleeping under your assia.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. reel American

    LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE This is all Obama's fault We need George W. back then we coul bomb the crap out of Russia "GO TEA PARTY"

    November 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brett

    Oh look, another thing the US Government insists upon doing that nobody needs or wants. Why focus on important domestic issues when we could be spending untold amounts of money on shady military deals in Poland and Romania?

    November 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
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