Moscow urges quick missile deal with US
MOSCOW - The Associated Press
Russian President Medvedev chairs a meeting with military officials in Kaliningrad regarding the missile deployment.A deal with Washington to assuage Moscow’s concerns about U.S. missile defense plans in Europe is still possible, but time is running out, Russia’s foreign minister said yesterday.
Sergei Lavrov reaffirmed that Moscow will take retaliatory action if moves by Washington to deploy missile shield components around Europe pose a threat to Russia. The U.S. says its planned missile shield is aimed at deflecting potential missile threats from Iran, but Russia fears that the missile shield will eventually grow powerful enough to undermine Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
“Like any responsible state, we proceed not from declarations, but from concrete action when it comes to security issues,” Lavrov said. “Our response will strictly correspond to the potential of the European component of the U.S. missile defense as it develops.” Moscow agreed in 2010 to consider NATO’s proposal to cooperate on the U.S.-led missile shield, but the talks have run into a deadlock over how the system should be operated. Russia has insisted that it should be run jointly, which NATO has rejected.
In November, President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to deploy missiles to the Kaliningrad region, bordering Poland and Lithuania, and to other areas of Russia to be aimed at U.S. missile defense sites, if the U.S. and NATO fail to reach a deal allaying Russian worries. Lavrov said yesterday that Russia doesn’t want confrontation with the U.S. and doesn’t think that Washington is making a specific effort to erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
An early warning radar system deployed in Turkey in the eastern Anatolian province of Malatya began its surveillance activities Jan. 1. A small number of U.S. troops were deployed to the military base at Kürecik in Malatya in the last week of 2011 since the Turkish military has no qualified personnel to run he U.S. AN/TPY-2 (X-band) early warning radar system.