Russia will counter US missile defence: Medvedev

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Russia will continue with the overhaul of its missile defence unless the US drops its plans for a European missile shield or proposes a scheme for a joint effort, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

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“This does not mean the beginning of confrontation, but it means that we cannot treat their (US) plans indifferently since it concerns our strategic interests,” Medvedev said.

In an address to the nation in November, Medvedev had said that if Moscow’s participation in the European missile defence project fails, Russia would deploy tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave and halt its disarmament and arms control efforts, including participation in the new strategic arms reduction treaty with the US.

“We will do everything in the direction voiced by me earlier, with the only exception being if our partners drop their plans or propose to us a scheme for participating in the joint development of missile defences,” Medvedev said.

Russia delivered Tuesday new S-400 Triumf air defence systems to its Western Military District and pledged to put them on alert duty in a month.

Russia-NATO missile defence talks have stalled as Moscow seeks legally binding guarantees that the US-backed European missile defence programme will not be directed against it.

Washington, however, refuses to provide written guarantees, saying the shield is not directed against Russia but rather rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.