Rome (AFP) June 03, 2007
Russian President Vladimir Putin has again blasted a planned US missile shield in Europe and warned that Moscow could redeploy missiles aimed at targets on the continent. "If the US nuclear potential extends across the European territory, we will have to get new targets in Europe," Putin said in an interview to newspapers from the Group of Eight most industrialised nations.
The interview was due to be published on Monday but the embargo was partially broken by Germany's Der Spiegel magazine. Putin and his peers are meeting for a three-day G8 summit which begins in Germany on Wednesday.
"It will then be up to our military experts to identify which targets will be aimed by ballistic missiles and which ones will be aimed by cruise missiles," he said.
"We want to re-balance the defence instruments with more efficient offensive equipment but we know that this could lead to a renewed arms race for which we are, however, not responsible."
Tensions over the plan have helped send relations between the two states to what many analysts call a post-Cold War low just before Putin and US President George W. Bush meet at the Group of Eight summit.
Russia sees the US plan to deploy missile defence hardware in Poland and the Czech Republic, as a threat and dismisses as feeble Washington's insistence that it is aimed at pre-empting possible attacks from the Middle East, especially Iran.
"We cannot allow ourselves not to be worried," Putin said. "The missile shield is part of a nuclear system which protects American territory and for the first time in history, elements of this system have been transferred to Europe," the Russian leader said.
"We are told that this defence system serves against Iranian missiles but no Iranian missile has such a capability. It therefore becomes evident that this concerns us, the Russians."
earlier related report
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slammed a US plan to deploy missile defense hardware in Poland and the Czech Republic, which has infuriated Moscow in spite of Washington's insistence it poses Russia no threat.
"If strategic components of the American arsenal appear in Europe near our borders, we are obliged to... cut off potential threats from that deployment," Lavrov said in comments broadcast on the state-run television channel Vesti-24.
After repeated warnings from Russia that the US plan would set off a new "arms race," Russia tested a new multi-warhead missile last week that President Vladimir Putin said was a direct response to US actions.
Tensions over the plan have helped send relations between the two states to what many analysts call a post-Cold War low just before Putin and US President George W. Bush meet at this week's Group of Eight summit.
In spite of the sharp words, Lavrov pointed to a previous avenue of Russian cooperation with the West on missile defense, saying: "It would be better to resume work within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council on creating theatre missile defense."
Developing a missile defense system to protect deployed troops from missile attacks is one of several joint programs by the NATO-Russia Council, and is scheduled to be completed by 2010.
The independent US plan was however cast by Lavrov as part of an attempt to encircle Russia militarily.
The US plan "wonderfully fits the overall picture of American global anti-missile defense, which according to our analysis -- just look at the map -- is being deployed along Russia's perimeter, and also China's, incidentally."
Washington says the central European shield would protect against potential threats from states such as Iran or North Korea, while Russia has responded with skepticism.
"Our conclusions clearly show that defending oneself from nonexistent threats makes no sense," Lavrov said.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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Raytheon Delivers First Joint Standoff Weapon Block II
Tucson AZ (SPX) Jun 01, 2007
Raytheon has delivered its first Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) Block II -- a new variant offering significantly lower unit costs and an additional payload option. "This delivery is the culmination of an effort that began three years ago to significantly reduce the cost of this weapon," said John O'Brien, Raytheon's JSOW Block II program director. "This achievement represents many long hours and hard work by the entire JSOW team, including the U.S. government and our suppliers."
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