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Czech Opposition To Radar Plans Grows As Russia About Consequences

The poll also showed that 74 percent of Czechs think the question of whether to join the US missile defence shield should be the subject of a referendum. Image courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) July 19, 2007
The number of Czechs opposed to siting a radar in their country as part of a US missile defence shield has risen to nearly two thirds, according to a poll published on Thursday. Some 65 percent of Czechs are opposed to the tracking radar, according to the CVVM poll of 1,013 people between June 4 and 11, up from 61 percent in a similar poll in May. Forty percent of those questioned in the latest survey said they were "decisively opposed" to installing the US radar in their country, compared to only six percent who said they were "decisively in favour" of the move.

A quarter, or 25 percent, said they were "rather opposed" while 22 percent said they were "rather in favour".

"We can see a new increase in the opponents to the (radar) base," CVVM said in a report published on its website Thursday.

The poll also showed that 74 percent of Czechs think the question of whether to join the US missile defence shield should be the subject of a referendum, contrary to the centre-right government's call for a parliament vote on the issue.

In addition to the powerful tracking radar in the Czech Republic, Washington wants to site 10 interceptor missiles in Poland as part of an extended defense shield against airborne attacks.

Russia has expressed outrage over the plans, which it says will threaten its security, and has suggested it would target missiles at Europe if the United States goes ahead with the proposal.

earlier related report
Defense source warns of threat to states hosting missile shield
Moscow (RIA Novosti) - A source in Russia's Defense Ministry warned Thursday that countries that host missile defense systems are not improving their own security, but are putting themselves and their neighbors at risk.

The source told RIA Novosti that the expansion of the United States missile defense system would cause serious environmental problems in several parts of the world, as the interception of an intercontinental ballistic missile creates a vast zone of destruction.

His comments echo warnings earlier in the week from Yury Baluyevsky, chief of staff of the Russian Armed Forces, who urged Poland, which along with the Czech Republic has agreed to host elements of the Pentagon's missile shield on its territory, to consider the dangers the country is exposing itself to.

The ministry source said: "Should a U.S. anti-missile intercept a ballistic or other type of missile in Europe, substantial tracts of land would be affected in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, and a number of other states. Radioactive elements will be dispersed across these countries' territories," he said.

Russia does not regard components of the U.S. missile defense system in isolation from each other, he said.

"Europe, Alaska, naval components, and space-based tracking, control and communication systems - all of these are elements of the U.S. missile defense system," he said.

He said that as far as Russia is concerned, it does not matter exactly how many interceptor missiles are deployed in a particular area. "What is of primary importance is the sheer fact that a global missile defense infrastructure is being created around Russia," he said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Source: RIA Novosti

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US Versus Russia On ABM
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jul 17, 2007
In the near future, Europe may host two anti-ballistic missile systems, one operated exclusively by the United States and the other a joint project involving America, Russia and other European countries. According to some experts, the initiatives advanced by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who proposed joint use of the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan and a radar in southern Russia, have not convinced the United States to revise its plans to deploy ABM systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.

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