Russia urges quick missile defence deal with US

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 22:24

Moscow: A deal with Washington to assuage
Moscow`s concerns about US missile defence plans in Europe is
still possible, but time is running out, Russia`s foreign
minister said on Wednesday.

Sergey Lavrov reaffirmed that Moscow will take
retaliatory action if moves by Washington to deploy missile
shield components around Europe pose a threat to Russia.

The US says its planned missile shield is aimed at
deflecting potential missile threats from Iran, but Russia
fears that the missile shield will eventually grow powerful
enough to undermine Russia`s nuclear deterrent.

"Like any responsible state, we proceed not from
declarations, but from concrete action when it comes to
security issues," Lavrov said. "Our response will strictly
correspond to the potential of the European component of the
US missile defence as it develops."

Moscow agreed in 2010 to consider NATO`s proposal to
cooperate on the US-led missile shield, but the talks have run
into a deadlock over how the system should be operated. Russia
has insisted that it should be run jointly, which NATO has
rejected.

In a televised address to the nation in November,
President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to deploy missiles to the
Kaliningrad region, bordering Poland and Lithuania, and to
other areas of Russia to be aimed at US missile defence sites,
if the US and NATO fail to reach a deal allaying Russian
worries.

He urged the US to provide firm and specific guarantees
that its future missile defence potential will not be directed
against Russia.

Lavrov said today that Russia doesn`t want confrontation
with the US and doesn`t think that Washington is making a
specific effort to erode Russia`s nuclear deterrent.

But he added that the growing power of the US missile
shield could eventually make it capable of engaging Russia`s
nuclear forces.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 22:24

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