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Top Russian General Questions Real Targets Of US Missile Defence Plan

Earlier this week, chief of Russia's strategic missile corps, General Nikolai Solovtsov, threatened tough measures if Prague and Warsaw went along with the plan, suggesting that the new installations could be targeted by Russian missiles.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Feb 21, 2007
A top-ranking Russian general questioned the "real targets" of the United States' plan to site a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, warning that it could start off a new arms race, the state Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily wrote Wednesday. "This cannot be seen as other than a significant reconfiguration of the US military presence.

So the question of what the real targets of the US missile defense plans are and the consequences of its realisation for Russia and Europe are quite serious," chief of staff Yuri Baluyevsky said in an interview.

"We can confidently say that despite all claims that this defence will not be aimed against Russia, it may in some circumstances affect our potential," Baluyevsky explained, adding also that any missile shot down over Russia could also affect its environment and people.

"Russians quite legitimately wonder why they should be hostage to this situation, why those uninvolved must face the consequences?" the general said.

Also, Baluyevsky warned that "placing anti-missile defense systems will stimulate upgrades of missile weapons in the world" and Moscow was "concerned that such an arms race could be initiated close to our borders, but not by us."

The United States has said it wants to begin formal talks soon on deploying a missile defence system comprising missiles to be sited in Poland and a radar station to be sited in the Czech Republic.

Washington says the aim would be to intercept potential attacks from Iran and North Korea.

But Moscow does not accept this, saying that the system, close to Russia's western borders, would threaten Russia.

Earlier this week, chief of Russia's strategic missile corps, General Nikolai Solovtsov, threatened tough measures if Prague and Warsaw went along with the plan, suggesting that the new installations could be targeted by Russian missiles.

Solovtsov also suggested that Russia could easily restart production of medium-range missiles if the decision were taken to withdraw from a Cold War-era treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed by Moscow and Washington in 1987.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Russian Threat To Withdraw From INF Not Bluff
Washington (UPI) Feb 21, 2007
The extraordinary tough talk coming out of Moscow over the past week on the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty is mixed but not contradictory. First, four-star Army Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, the Chief of the Russian General Staff, warned explicitly last Thursday that Russia might unilaterally pull out of the nearly 20-year-old treaty that has been a cornerstone of detente and of peace and security in Europe.







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