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Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Russia Warns West on Antimissile Effort

Russia on Monday highlighted the potential ramifications of the U.S.-NATO project to establish a widespread antimissile system in Europe, RIA Novosti reported.

“Any unilateral and unlimited buildup of the missile capability by one state or a group of states would lead to the preservation of Cold War hangovers, damaging strategic stability in violation of all the [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] members' obligations not to strengthen their security at the expense of others,” according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Moscow has not been shy in expressing its opinions about the developing missile shield, which is centered around U.S. deployment of land- and sea-based missile interceptors and other technology in several European nations. A radar base is already operational in Turkey, while U.S. naval vessels with ballistic missile defense technology are home porting in Spain.

Russia, the United States and NATO since late 2010 have sought to identify a means for collaborating on missile defense. The talks have not led to any agreement. A major sticking point is Moscow's demand that it receive a legally binding assurance that the system would not be aimed at countering its long-range nuclear force. The military alliance has refused to offer such an agreement, but says the shield is being developed with Iran in mind.

Russia has threatened military steps including deployment of short-range ballistic missiles near NATO states if the impasse cannot be broken.

"It is our principle that clear legal guarantees are necessary that the emergent system will not be directed against the Russian nuclear deterrence forces -- guarantees, moreover, that are verifiable under mutually approved technical criteria," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying at an event in Finland.

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