Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said his country is open to collaborating with NATO on a system of mutual missile defense in Europe, RIA Novosti reported today (see GSN, April 26).
Medvedev told the Danish Broadcasting Corp. that the Kremlin has for some time "said that the system of global missile defense must protect not only a definite country or a group of countries, but function in the interests of all responsible participants of the international society."
Foreign ministers from NATO states last week in Estonia concluded that the alliance should start discussions with Moscow on possible missile defense collaboration.
Medvedev indicated Moscow was ready to participate in those talks.
Russia is opposed to the building of air defense systems because they ultimately "damage the current balanced system between the main nuclear powers," Medvedev said.
"Either we are together or we (Russia) have to react somehow," he said (RIA Novosti, April 27).
Moscow has criticized a U.S. plan that would entail the phased deployment of land- and sea-based missile interceptors around Europe as a hedge against possible medium- and short-range missiles launched from Iran. Russia has argued that the missile shield would hurt its own nuclear deterrent.
"But if this system has a global dimension, if it is designed to mitigate threats from countries ... who violate international law in some way, who are independently developing, for example, nuclear weapons programs, or otherwise not complying with principles required for amicable international interaction ... then in this case, of course such a system of protection could be established," Medvedev said, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported (Deutsche Presse-Agentur/Earthtimes, April 27).