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President's statement not confrontational - MoD

November 24, 2011, 17:33 UTC+3

"We cannot watch indifferently a military potential appearing close to Russian borders, which can be used against our national interests"

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MOSCOW, November 24 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Ministry of Defense said the statement by the Russian president on missile defense does not imply that Russia immediately retaliates to the deployment of U.S. missile defense facilities in Europe, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said in an interview to Itar-Tass.

At the same time, he underlined that the measures of response "are not unexpected." "They are a well-thought out and calculated position, suggested by the Russian military to the leadership of our state. The position voiced by Dmitry Medvedev is not confrontational: if there are no threats to Russia's security, it will not retaliate," Antonov stressed.

"Dmitry Medvedev has been the chief Russian negotiator on the missile defense problem. The Russian president had repeatedly spoken on the problem before the public, and the mass media, and, lastly in Lisbon in November 2010, where he brought forward Russian proposals on finding a way out of the difficult situation related to missile defense. He conducted more than one meeting with leaders of different states to discuss international security issues and the missile defense problem. The president underlined and explained the danger emanating from U.S. plans.

"We cannot watch indifferently a military potential appearing close to Russian borders, which can be used against our national interests. Our supreme commander-in-chief constantly urged western states, in the first place the UA, to have dialogue and seek comprise, but our partners did not wish to consider Russian concerns. Today, the development of the U.S. missile defense shield events by far outpaces the dialogue Russian negotiators from the Foreign and Defense Ministries are conducting. Of course, this causes our justified concerns. Hence the Russian president's reaction - predicable and adequate to the danger and challengers emanating from U.S. missile defense elements which are being deployed on the European continent.

"I wish to specially underscore that the statement by our president is not aimed at confrontation. It is a clear invitation for the western states, in the first place the United States, to seek solutions. Dmitry Medvedev unequivocally stated it in his address to the nation," the deputy defense minister said.

Antonov urged Russia’s western partners to "read the president's statement carefully, in order to draw correct conclusions which would enable us all to strengthen national security."

"As for specific military-technological measures announced by President Medvedev, I'd like to pay special attention to the fact that no immediate implementation of the proposed moves is meant. Each concrete decision on this or that measure will be made depending on the situation.

The Americans are well aware of the current missile defense situation We've talked with them about it throughout all the rounds of START negotiations in which I participated. The current situation around missile defense is quite simple; it boils down to the following: imaging two warriors facing each other with the same swords and having equal opportunities. But if one of them gets a shield, this can only be compensated by forging the same shield or by extending the length of the second warrior's blade.

This is the essence of relations between strategic offensive and strategic defensive armaments - the key problem of all START talks. This is what the Russian president talked about, as he announced a range of military and technological measures by our country in his televised address to the nation," the deputy defense minister said.

Head of the committee on international affairs under the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament Konstantin Kosachyov said Russia has no intention to shut down the "reloading" in relations with the USA or bloc cooperation in strategic areas.

"It takes two to tango; Russia has no intention to scale down "the reset," Kosachyov underlined at a news conference.

He called the head of state's position "a forced response" to the USA, which had been consistently implementing the plans to deploy missile defense systems near Russian borders.

"We tried to avoid such a situation till the last moment, tried to come to terms. The partners have an opportunity to avoid the use of the measures Dmitry Medvedev voiced in his address, if it is heard still," the lawmaker underlined.

He noted that the range of actions by Russia is "phased," and that it can give them up anytime.

"Unlike the U.S. actions, our program is transparent," Kosachyov added.

He explained Medvedev's tough statement by the results of talks between the Russian and U.S. leaders in Honolulu, where their latest meeting took place.

"Mostly likely, the results of that talk influenced Russia's today position in no small measure," the chairman of the State Duma committee on international affairs said.

He warned against building NATO missile defense close to Russian borders which NATO might decide at the next summit in Chicago. "A point of non return will appear then, an impasse, which will require the use of the measures voiced by our president," Kosachyov said.

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