Responding to Washington’s failure to bring Russia on board the European missile defense system, President Dmitry Medvedev announces sweeping plans to address what Moscow is calling a threat to national security.
Medvedev said he will deploy strike systems in the west and south of the country and deploy Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region in order to counter the risk posed by the European missile defense system.
“By my order the Defense Ministry will run in a warning system radar station in Kaliningrad without delay,” the Russian President said, commenting from his resident of Gorki on the outskirts of Moscow
Russia may also refuse to undertake additional steps toward disarmament in the event that its national security remains at risk.
“In the event of unfavorable developments (in regards to European missile defense), Russia reserves the right to halt further steps in the disarmament sphere and, respectively, weapons control,” Medvedev said. “Besides, given the inseparable interconnection between the strategic offensive and defensive weapons, grounds may appear for our country’s withdrawal from the START treaty.”
New START, which limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, was signed on April 8, 2010 in Prague and went into force on February 5, 2011.
Meanwhile, Medvedev stressed that Russia remains open to dialogue with the US and NATO regarding missile defense issues, but the cooperation must have clear legal parameters.
“We are not closing the door to further dialogue on missile defense with the US and the North Atlantic alliance, nor to practical cooperation in this area. We are ready for further dialogue,” the Russian leader stressed. “The path towards such work depends upon the creation of a clear legal basis for our cooperation that will reflect our legitimate interests.”
There is still time to come to mutual understanding, the Russian leader said.
Medvedev reiterated his belief that the formation of a “joint and sectored missile defense system,” which he proposed at the Russia-NATO Council summit in Lisbon, would open up the prospects for a “real strategic partnership between Russia and NATO.”
“Europe doesn’t need new demarcation lines,” Medvedev said. “It needs a single perimeter of security with equal legal participation from the Russian side.”
Medvedev said that US and NATO reluctance to cooperate is unfortunate because “even now such an approach is opening unique opportunities for Russia and NATO’s advancement towards a truly strategic partnership.”
President Medvedev also mentioned that in 2009 when US President Barack Obama decided to “scrap” the missile defense plans laid out by his predecessor, George W. Bush, Russia’s reaction was quite positive.He said the apparent change allowed the two states to sign the New START treaty.
Later, however, the United States started to implement the so-called stage-by-stage missile defense plan, while denying Russia’s participation in the project. Naturally, this concerns Russia, Medvedev said.