Dempsey Invited to Russia for Antimissile Talks

The United States' top military official has been asked to visit Russia for talks that would address antimissile matters, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.

"Missile defense will be one of the points of our discussion," Russian General Staff chief Gen. Valery Gerasimov said of anticipated discussions with his U.S. opposite, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Washington has not confirmed that Dempsey will travel to Moscow.

Moscow and Washington are at odds over U.S. plans to over the next decade deploy increasingly advanced interceptors around Europe with the aim of defending NATO territory from a possible Iranian ballistic missile attack. Moscow fears the interceptors might be used to undermine its long-range nuclear missiles.

"We are not challenging NATO's right to provide a missile defense shield for itself, but cannot agree that this should be done at the expense of Russia's deterrent capability," Gerasimov said to a gathering of international military officials.

Separately, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a continuing budget resolution that would assign $348 million to a troubled multinational battlefield antimissile program for the rest of fiscal 2013 and $53 million to its U.S. branch, The Hill reported.

The fiscal 2013 defense authorization act forbids the Pentagon from spending additional funds on developing the Medium Extended Air Defense System, which is being developed in concert with NATO partners Italy and Germany. The Pentagon has said it does not want to acquire any MEADS units but that additional funding is necessary to avoid being hit with more costly fines for prematurely abandoning the program.

House appropriators said the funds in the continuing resolution are not to be used to further MEADS development. The Senate has yet to pass a corresponding measure to keep the government operating through Sept. 30.

March 7, 2013
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The United States' top military official has been asked to visit Russia for talks that would address antimissile matters, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.