Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday called for a written promise that U.S. interceptors planned for deployment around Europe would not be aimed at Russian long-range nuclear missiles, ITAR-Tass reported (see GSN, March 20).
“The most important thing that we should hear [is] one simple thing, hear and make it fixed that the missile defense is not targeted against Russia,” Medvedev said at an international affairs conference in Moscow. “This should be fixed, but in a document, rather than friendly talks with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.”
Moscow has engaged in repeated rounds of talks with the United States and NATO on allied plans to deploy over the next eight years increasingly advanced U.S. interceptors at European sites. The Western military alliance has offered repeated verbal assurances that the sea- and land-based Standard Missile 3 interceptors are intended as protection against a feared missile strike from the Middle East.
“We proceed from the assumption that our relations with NATO are one of fundamental components of the modern security architecture in the Euro-Atlantic space that determine mostly strategic stability on the global scale,” Medvedev said. “Meanwhile, certainly, cooperation [on missile defense] between Russia and NATO cannot be established without the settlement of the problems, which concern vital interests of our countries” (ITAR-Tass, March 23).
The Russian Defense Ministry on Thursday said it would invite U.S. experts and NATO defense ministers to a planned May international forum on missile defense, Interfax reported.
Moscow intends to use the antimissile conference to restate its concerns about U.S.-NATO missile defense plans for Europe.
“We will invite representatives of Western political research centers and Russian non-governmental organizations,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.
The May 3-4 forum “gives us a unique chance to convene military specialists for taking a military-technical look at the problem,” the deputy defense chief said.
“Our arguments will show that these plans, especially the third and fourth phase of the European phased adaptive approach, will affect the Russian strategic nuclear forces,” Antonov said (Interfax, March 22).
Beginning in 2018 under the third and fourth phases of the Obama administration’s European missile defense program, next-generation SM-3 interceptors would be deployed that are envisioned as having the ability to defeat medium- and intermediate-range missiles, as well as ICBMs.
“We are not going to dominate the conference with only Russian views,” Antonov was quoted by ITAR-Tass as saying. “We invite our NATO partners and American colleagues to voice their positions, approaches to cooperation on missile defense.”
“We only would like to draw their attention to Russia’s concerns, making them think about strategic aftermath of their missile defense plans,” he underlined.
The forum would also feature a trip for participants to a Russian military base outside of Moscow where they would be shown Russian antimissile capabilities, Antonov said.
Representatives from China, India, and South Korea are also to be invited to the conference (ITAR-Tass I, March 22).
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on Friday said he was confident Russia would be able to counter U.S.-NATO missile defenses if the two sides fail to reach a compromise, ITAR-Tass reported.
“I can say that the ideas and products capable of overcoming missile defenses that the [Moscow Thermal Engineering Institute] has at its disposal will certainly be of great demand in the armaments programs and make it possible for Russia to feel absolutely safe in any situations,” the Kremlin’s point man for discussions with Europe on antimissile issues said. “The systems being developed for modern Russian missile complexes allow for penetrating any of the current or future missile defense systems with certainty” (ITAR-Tass II, March 23).