Russia wants US assurances on missile defense

Associated Press
June 21, 2009
By Arthur Max

Russia is ready for deep cuts of strategic nuclear weapons in a new deal with the United States if the U.S. eases Moscow’s concerns about plans for a missile defense system, President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday.

Medvedev lifted hopes for progress when President Barack Obama visits Moscow July 6-9 for talks focusing on replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in December. …

“We cannot agree with U.S. plans to create a global missile defense system,” he said in a statement released by the Kremlin. “I would like to emphasize that the proposed cuts are only possible if the U.S. relieves Russian concerns. In any case, the link between strategic offensive and defensive weapons must be clearly fixed in the treaty.”

Medvedev, however, stopped short of saying the U.S. must dump missile defense plans, and the wording of his statement indicated that Russia was ready for a compromise. …