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Russia Asks US To Clarify Its Missile Defense Plans In Europe

Russia's Army General Yury Baluyevsk. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (RIA Novosti) Oct 17, 2006
Russia wants the U.S. to clarify its plans for the deployment of its anti-missile shield in Europe, the chief of the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces said Monday. The United States has ambitious plans to deploy a network of anti-missile systems across the world to protect itself and its allies from threats from countries such as Iran and North Korea, and there has been speculation they would be based in at least two former Communist-bloc countries, which Russia sees as a threat to its national security.

"The issue should be clarified," Army General Yury Baluyevsky said, "whether the missile defense system in Europe will be developed jointly with Russia, or whether it will be a segment of the U.S. national system without Russia's participation."

It was announced in September that the 26 NATO member countries had completed a feasibility study on a common missile defense system, and had reached the conclusion that a missile defense for Europe is workable.

Following talks Monday with the chairman of NATO's military committee, General Raymond Henault, Baluyevsky said the sides agreed to continue discussions on the issue at the Russia-NATO Council due in Brussels next month.

Although the U.S. has not yet officially proposed to Poland that American missile defense elements be deployed on the European country's territory, Polish presidential aide Andrzej Krawczyk said any possible deployment in Poland will not threaten Russia.

Moscow voiced concern last week over the proposed deployment of an anti-missile system, with Sergei Ivanov, Russia's defense minister and a deputy prime minister, hinting that the U.S. has its own goals for the program.

"The announced purpose [of the deployment] is the interception of Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have never existed and will not exist in the near future," he said.

NATO apparently has to make up its mind now whether to join the U.S. deployment project or not, and if not, the U.S. will discuss the issue with NATO members on a bilateral basis.

Russia's Defense Ministry said last week Russia and NATO will conduct a joint theater missile defense command and staff exercise.

The exercise, which will run in Russia October 16-25, will be the third joint military maneuver to be conducted under the aegis of the Russia-NATO Council.

"The main objective of the exercise is to train and improve joint planning and coordination between the commanders of the air-defense and missile defense groups of Russia and NATO," the ministry said.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Moscow (AFP) Oct 16, 2006
Russia's cautious approach to supporting sanctions against North Korea reflects a growing desire to please China rather than any fondness for the hardline leadership in Pyongyang, analysts here say. Pragmatism seems to have been the name of the game when Russia set strict pre-conditions before eventually supporting Saturday's US-sponsored resolution on Pyongyang's weapons programme in the United Nations Security Council.

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