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NATO, U.S. Possess 1,000 Anti-ICBM Interceptors, Russian Official Claims

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin claimed the United States and the other NATO states possess some 1,000 missile interceptors that could destroy ICBMs launched from his nation, RIA Novosti reported on Friday (see GSN, Jan. 4).

"Along with its allies, whom the U.S. now persuades to buy ships equipped with the Aegis Combat System, the overall potential can be estimated at about 1, 000 interceptor missiles," Rogozin told Ekho Moskvy radio.

Moscow objects to plans by Washington and Brussels to establish a ballistic missile shield that would cover all of Europe. The Kremlin is especially upset over U.S. plans to in the latter part of the decade to deploy interceptors around the continent that the Obama administration says could counter "medium- and intermediate-range missiles and the potential future ICBM threat to the United States." Russia says it worries the interceptors would be aimed against its own long-range nuclear missiles and argues Iran does not have the wherewithal to develop the ballistic missiles the alliance asserts it is preparing to defend against.

"There are no guarantees that after the first, second, and third phases [of the Obama administration's "phased adaptive approach" for European missile defense] are completed, there will be no fourth, fifth and sixth," Rogozin said. "Do you really think they will halt all their technologies after 2020? That’s nonsense! They will go ahead with developing and boosting technical parameters of their interceptor missiles and performance capabilities of their warning (missile defense) systems."

The Kremlin's point man for missile defense talks with the Western military bloc said the interceptors the United States intends to deploy would be able to penetrate into Russia all the way to the Ural Mountains.

"The fact that the missile defense system can hit strategic missiles and the fact that those bases and fleet are deployed in northern seas demonstrate the evident ... anti-Russian nature of the (U.S.) missile defense,” Rogozin asserted (RIA Novosti, Jan. 20).

Washington has struck agreements with Poland, Romania and Spain to host Standard Missile 3 interceptors and has already established a long-range X-band radar unit in Turkey. Those antimissile efforts in Europe form the core of a broader NATO plan to enhance and link up individual member nations' antimissile programs.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday called on Moscow to think twice about augmenting its military presence in a Russian enclave that borders NATO states, Agence France-Presse reported.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last year warned that Moscow could deploy short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region if a compromise is not reached with Brussels and Washington on missile defense. An S-400 air-defense system could also begin operations in the area in April, according to news reports from Russia.

The sides for more than a year have been engaged in talks on potential antimissile cooperation, but to little success .

"These Russian statements are of course a matter of concern for NATO allies," Rasmussen said to journalists in Lithuania. "It is a complete waste of Russian financial resources, because it is a buildup of offensive military capacities directed against an artificial enemy."

"NATO has no intention whatsoever to attack Russia," the alliance chief continued (Agence France-Presse/Dawn, Jan. 19).

 

 

NTI Analysis

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