Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Russia Demands Equal Role in Missile Shield With U.S., Europe
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said the longstanding impasse over NATO's developing ballistic missile shield would only be ended if his country were granted an equal role in the system alongside the United States and Europe, Reuters reported (see GSN, June 19).
Moscow opposes an alliance initiative to build a missile shield in Europe, arguing that future-generation missile interceptors planned for deployment could target its long-range nuclear force. Washington and Brussels insist the antimissile system is only aimed at protecting the continent from a possible missile attack from the Middle East, but NATO has rejected Moscow's demand for a legally enforceable guarantee on the interceptors' usage.
The two sides have held a number of meetings on possible missile defense collaboration. The Kremlin has warned it could pursue a military buildup on territory bordering several NATO countries, among other measures, if a compromise is not reached.
"I think that the missile defense issue will not be solved regardless of whether [President] Obama is elected or not," Putin said at the close of the Group of 20 nations meeting in Mexico. "I think that something can radically change only in the case if the U.S. agrees with our proposal which says that Russia, Europe and U.S. were equal participants of this process."
Putin discussed missile defense with President Obama on Monday. The two leaders agreed to maintain dialogue on the issue even though an agreement appears far off at this point (Gleb Bryanski, Reuters, June 19).
Under the framework envisioned by Putin, "all three participants would jointly be building that system, and would be able to jointly assess threats, manage that system and make decisions on its use," RIA Novosti quoted the Russian leader as saying.
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