Russia Lashes Planned Missile Interceptor Placement

Global Security Newswire
May 4, 2011

Russia on Tuesday said its strategic security would be undercut by a plan for Romania to host U.S. missile interceptors, the New York Times reported (see GSN, May 3). …

U.S. government sources dismissed Moscow’s grievances, noting a call by Washington and NATO for Russia to contribute to a collaborative antimissile framework for the European continent, the Times reported. The Obama administration has said that its effort is aimed at protecting Europe from missiles fired from the Middle East, in particular Iran.

“Missile defense cooperation with Russia is a key U.S. goal,” a Defense Department insider said.

“We believe cooperation on missile defense is in the security interest of both our countries,” the source said. “We are actively seeking cooperation with Russia in bilateral channels and through NATO. Cooperation is the best way to provide Russia transparency and reassurances that missile defense is not a threat to its security” (Shanker/Barry, New York Times). …

Meanwhile, discussions between Washington and Moscow on potential antimissile collaboration were not proceeding smoothly, Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said. The sides were expected to hold the discussions from Monday through Thursday this week in Belgium, according to a previous report.

“The current phase are consultations between military officials,” and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov is expected to meet on Thursday with U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, Rogozin noted.

“On the whole, I can say that the main problem remains unsolved. It is the problem of sane, coherent and verifiable guarantees that the American system of missile defense that would be deployed in Europe would not target the Russian strategic potential,” the official said.

Moscow was open to certain U.S. suggestions, including the potential establishment of a joint missile threat early warning scheme, Rogozin said.

“But if the firepower of the U.S. missile defense is located near a zone where some of our strategic nuclear forces are deployed, if the area to be covered by the American missile defense pushes deep into the territory of the Russian Federation, we won’t be able to come to an agreement,” the official said. …