INTERNATIONAL

Russia vows military response to U.S. missile defence deal

Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: Russia has vowed to give a military response to a U.S. missile defence deal with the Czech Republic.

The threat came immediately after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday signed an agreement with the Czech Republic to build a powerful radar for an American missile shield in Europe, which will also include 10 interceptor missiles in Poland.

“If the agreement with the U.S. comes into force and the deployment of a U.S. strategic missile defence system begins near our borders, we will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement on Tuesday. The statement was released hours after Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President George W. Bush failed to make progress on the shield plans during their meeting on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit.

Disappointed



Mr. Medvedev said Russia was “extremely disappointed” that the U.S. had signed the radar deal and would respond appropriately.

“We won’t become hysterical about this, but we’ll consider counter-measures,” he said. Moscow earlier threatened to deploy missiles on the border with Poland and to walk out of a 1987 treaty with the U.S., banning intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Russia believes the radar and anti-missiles shield in Europe would be part of a U.S. missile defence system being built to neutralise Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenals and shift the balance of power in favour of the U.S.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. missile shield in Europe would “undermine stability and security, not only in Europe, but throughout the world.”

The Ministry said Washington had backtracked on its earlier offer of transparency and monitoring at its missile defence facilities in the Czech Republic and Poland.

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