جمعه 15 ارديبهشت 1391 - ساعت 13:10
شماره خبر: 100811084551
Russia warns it may target U.S. missile shield
Russia has threatened to carry out a pre-emptive strike on U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe if Washington goes ahead with its controversial plan to build a missile shield.
Russia said Thursday its dispute with the United States over missile defense was near a "dead end" and warned it might have to deploy new rockets in Europe to take out elements of the controversial shield, AFP reported.
"We have not been able to find mutually-acceptable solutions at this point and the situation is practically at a dead end," Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told a televised conference on missile defense issues.
The comments came just hours before Russian generals were to sit down for crunch talks with a special team Washington dispatched ahead of next month's official deployment of the first elements of the new shield.
Russia has argued vehemently against a defense system the United States is deploying to protect its European allies against any attack from what it calls enemy states such as Iran.
Officials in Moscow fear the shield may harm its own nuclear deterrence and have warned of unleashing a massive new armament program if Washington failed to allay its concerns.
Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov said one option was for Russia to station short-range Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave near Poland in a long-discussed move that has gravely alarmed Eastern European states.
The generals backed up their argument by unfurling a projection screen before visiting dignitaries from 50 countries and playing graphics of how NATO missiles could eliminate Russian rockets by the end of the decade.
"A thorough analysis by the defense ministry's research organizations showed that once the third and fourth stages are deployed, the capability to intercept Russian inter-continental ballistic missiles will be real," Makarov said.
The standoff has tested Russian-U.S. relations for much of the past decade and been one of the primary issues addressed by President Barack Obama when he launched a diplomatic "reset" with Moscow in 2009.
But it has gained added urgency as Russia makes a transition from outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev to Vladimir Putin who will be sworn in for a third term as president on Monday.
Putin has already decided against attending next month's NATO summit in Chicago to protest the shield's formal deployment at the event.