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Russia could couter US with missiles in Belarus: general

NATO brushes off Russian remark about basing missiles in Belarus
NATO brushed off Russian suggestions Wednesday that Moscow could counter a US anti-missile shield planned for central Europe by deploying missiles in its neighbour Belarus. "Any discussion of targeting western Europe with missiles, from any party, is a) anachronistic b) unwelcome and c) unhelpful," NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels. Earlier Wednesday, the head of Russia's missile and artillery forces, General Vladimir Zaritsky, raised the possibility that his country's pro-Moscow neighbour could prove a good place to deploy missiles. Belarus, which borders Poland, said Wednesday that it would purchase Russia's Iskander-E conventional missile system by 2020, which is designed to destroy air defences, but has a range of just 280 kilometres (174 miles). A new version, the Iskander-M, can be adapted for a range of 500 kilometres (310 miles). That is forbidden under the terms of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which scrapped missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometres.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Nov 14, 2007
Russia could counter a planned US anti-missile defence system in central Europe by deploying missiles in neighbouring ally Belarus, a senior Russian general said Wednesday.

"Why not, given the appropriate conditions and appropriate position of Belarus?" General Vladimir Zaritsky, the head of Russia's missile and artillery forces, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

"Any action must have a counter-action, including with the US anti-missile elements in the Czech Republic and Poland," he said.

Belarus, a close ally of Russia which borders Poland, said earlier Wednesday that it was purchasing Russia's Iskander-E conventional missile system by 2020, which is designed to destroy air defences, but has a range of just 280 kilometres (174 miles).

An updated version of the missile, the Iskander-M, can be adapted for a range of 500 kilometres (310 miles).

That is currently forbidden under the terms of the Cold War-era INF treaty, which scrapped missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometres (310-3,417 miles).

However last month President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia could tear up the treaty if Washington goes ahead with its anti-missile shield plans.

Zaritsky said the Iskander could quickly be adapted for the longer range: "If the political decision is taken to leave the (INF) treaty, we will increase the military capabilities of the complex, including its range."

Washington says it needs the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against possible threats from Iran, insisting that the limited system could not threaten Russia's vast nuclear arsenal.

However, Moscow describes the plan as a threat to its nuclear deterrent.

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US Air Force describes errors in nuclear missile flight
Washington (AFP) Oct 19, 2007
The Pentagon acknowledged Friday an unprecedented breakdown in procedures that allowed six nuclear missiles to mistakenly end up on a cross-country flight, an incident which took 36 hours to be discovered.







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