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. Eugene

    Thank you Yeltsin and Gorbachev. If not for you two and Russia still had its base in Cuba, I sincerely doubt Amerika would be building any shields in Europe. What Russia needs is not eliminate Topol-M missiles.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jack

    Russia needs to shut up and sit down before they end up on our axis of evil. We're going to wipe Iran off the map, maybe Russia and China too if they don't learn their place.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arsio

      Dude your country is about to fail. You really think your leaders are telling their public everything. Your country is about to become history so shooo away.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoot

      I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're just being facetious.........I hope.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      News Flash Arsio, our country failed a long time ago. However, the only thing we have left are big bombs, and our government, ran by AIPAC loves to bomb everything and everybody.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shawn Irwin

      If Russia was putting soldiers in nearly every other country in the world, we would be a bit concerned too . . . so it is no wonder that the Russians and the Chinese are concerned. There is only one place this constant military build-up is gong to lead, and that is a nuclear exchange . . . statistics are against us . . . . the longer we keep these nukes around, the more likely it is to happen. The only solution is a complete ban of nuclear weapons and a ban on the proliferation of conventional weapons . . . . . but we know that will never happen until man is glowing at night from radiation poisoning.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bomboby

      The US is doomed. they have bin to arrogant the last 50 years to other countries like Russia and China had have enough of it! The US would never win a war against China and Russia. They can't even defeat a few apes in the mountains of Afghanistan! You should better start learning Chinese.

      November 24, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    Hype and crap. The missile defense system doesn't work....never has.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Andrew

    Red Alert 4

    November 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jack

    Hey Russia, take a look at Iraq. That'll be you next. We have to biggest bombs, we'll always have the biggest bombs.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoot

      Google 'Tsar Bomba".

      November 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mik

      Having too much beer tonight? You wish you could have something "biggest", but that's just your wishful thinking.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      I don't wish I had something bigger, my wife does.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eugene


    I got bad new for you. I am not sure if you can handle them or not but here it is. You will not destroy Russia. Why? Topol-M will destroy you and all Mc Donalds and Burger Kings.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      They probably could destroy us if McDonalds, and Walmart would let them.

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

    Russia is being pawned for somebody else's agenda. It really should pullout the paranoid birdy placed in its ear. Russia will be just as vunerable as its european counterparts on mad day...

    November 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cameron

    If they wanted to threaten us why didn't they just say no more rides to the space station?! I think they have already shown that they really aren't capable of deploying cutting edge weapons. Their whole modus operandi lo these last 50 years has been low tech, but durable weapons such as MiGs that don't need to have the runways vacuumed before take off and AK-47. Now they are going to out tech us with missile shield evading weapons. Not likely. The USSR went broke going down this path once already.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marty

    Glad to see the cold war is still alive and kicking!

    November 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Brandon:
    How clever you are!
    You write PsOV, and I'll write POVs.
    We shall be understood clearly, one and all!

    November 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ME

    Meh. Target does not equal Attack; this is a non-story.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    Dog and Pony Show. More staged theatrics, just like the Cuban Missile Crisis. Keep all populations in fear. Respective military industrial complexes cash out big time.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      I'm old enought to remember the little show, and it's back for the newbies.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)

      If you weren't alive during the cuban missle crisis, let me assure you, it was a big deal. Your conspiracy theories have no bearing here.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Charles

    I believe both sides are acting too naive. We don't need the shield that close to Russia, and why the hell can't we agree not to use it against Russia. If it's to protect against "Iran" then what's the problem if we promise to not use it on Russia..afterall we already said we weren't going to so just f*@*ing sign the paper. Also, RUSSIA, jesus f@$*ing christ, can you not find any other causes like finding other countries that support your cause and pleading it in the U.N. instead of resorting to just a full on attack. Jesus F@$*ing christ...

    November 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ME

      We wouldn't necessarily use it "against" Russia. Missile Defense is not really an offensive weapon you can use against an enemy, more a shield against their attacks - and if someone's aiming at you, you're going to use whatever defenses are available.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      Haha if Russia wanted to they could take some U.S. astronauts to the space station and leave them there. Until the shield is removed. Jk, that wouldn't be a good idea. Politicians are immature, and would just get mad and retaliate, like usual in that scenario

      November 23, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cyg

    Although Russia is paranoid and posturing to be tough (which they can't be because they don't have any manpower left), if we had a GOP president from our selection of candidates right now, you'd be marching off to war in the morning...

    November 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eugene


    You are very naive fellow. All Russia needs is 100 Topol-M missiles and nothing else. That's all it needs. Think about it.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
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