Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on Thursday asserted that a U.S.-NATO plan for European missile defense would create strategic instability on the continent, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Moscow objects to U.S. plans to through 2020 field increasingly sophisticated land- and sea-based missile interceptors around Europe in support of the evolving NATO missile shield there. Russia has indicated it would not accept at face value the insistence of Washington and Brussels that the missile defense network will be targeted against potential short- and medium-range missile strikes launched from the Middle East. The Kremlin suspects U.S. interceptors planned for deployment will secretly be aimed at its own long-range missile forces.
"This concept of antimissile defense has a global and mobile character and creates unpredictability," Rogozin said in Moscow to visiting NATO delegates.
The outspoken former diplomat insisted that planned U.S. interceptors "could not be used to intercept tactical and middle-range missiles" as the alliance insists. "Actually, the potential of deployment around Norway and in Romania has been aimed at interception of strategic missiles," he asserted.
Rogozin said NATO should prepare itself for a concrete military response by Russia if it proceeds with establishing its missile shield, RIA Novosti reported.
"The Russian response (to European missile defense) is currently mostly virtual, political and diplomatic in character, but under certain circumstances we would be forced to deliver a technical response, which I don't think you'll like," he told the NATO representatives.