Moscow: A top Russian diplomat suggested
on Thursday that the US should not talk with non-NATO nations about
a prospective missile shield, Russian news agencies reported.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov`s remarks appeared
to reflect alarm over the idea that Western-leaning neighbours
such as Ukraine or Georgia, Russia`s foe in a war last year,
could potentially host US missile defence facilities.
Ryabkov said Russia is concerned about what he said were
contacts between the US and nations outside NATO on missile
defence, state-run ITAR-Tass and RIA Novosti reported.
President Barack Obama removed a major irritant in
relations with Russia last month by scrapping US plans to
place interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech
Republic deployments Russia treated as a threat.
The Kremlin has praised Obama for the decision, but
Russian officials have also said they want to know details
about what system the US will put in place instead.
Ryabkov`s comments served as a warning that the United
States should avoid taking steps that would threaten Russia or
turning to its neighbours as potential partners in missile
defence without consulting with Moscow.
"We are experiencing the concerns that emerge when major
questions of strategic stability should be considered in a
partner-like manner," he was quoted as saying.