Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the military to prepare to “destroy” the command capability of the planned U.S. missile-defense system in Europe.
Russia also may station strike missiles on its southern and western flanks, including Iskander rockets in the Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania, both members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, Medvedev said on state television today.
“I have ordered the armed forces to develop measures to ensure, if necessary, that we can destroy the command and control systems” of the U.S. shield,’’ Medvedev said. “These measures are appropriate, effective and low-cost.”
Russia has warned that the U.S.-led plan may provoke a new arms race and upset a strategic balance in the region by threatening its nuclear deterrent capability. The U.S. is ignoring Russia’s concerns about positioning parts of the shield in eastern Europe and “accelerating” its development, Medvedev said.
Spain became the fourth European nation agreeing to participate directly in the missile defense program, intended to protect against attacks from adversaries such as Iran. President Barack Obama pursued plans for the Europe-wide system in 2009, and the administration has also obtained agreements with Poland, Romania and Turkey to host elements of the shield.
Medvedev today renewed a threat to quit a strategic arms- reduction treaty with the U.S. that took effect in 2011 if the two sides can’t reach an agreement on missile defense. The U.S. has refused Russia’s request for legally binding guarantees that it won’t be targeted by the proposed missile shield.
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