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MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. The first tests of the United States’ missile defense system in Europe were the Pentagon’s response to the successful use of Russia’s sea-launched cruise missiles from the land-locked Caspian Sea on October 7 against military targets of the Islamic State in Syria, polled experts have told TASS.
On Tuesday, the United States for the first time held tests under the European missile defense program. In a joint exercise with NATO allies it destroyed a dummy ballistic missile over the northern Atlantic. The commander of the US naval forces in Europe and North Africa, Admiral Mark Furguson, said the exercise demonstrated the United States’ readiness to protect Europe with ships armed with the Aegis missile defense system.
The deputy director of the Institute of US and Canada Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Pavel Zolotaryov, said the US test of its "anti-missile umbrella" in Europe was the Pentagon’s response to the launch of Russian cruise missiles against Islamic State positions in Syria."
Zolotaryov does not believe that the missiles launched in the process of testing the US missile defense in Europe pose any threat to Russia’s nuclear potential, though. "The range of the guided interceptor missile Standard-3 (SM-3) Bloc 1A does not enable it to hit strategic targets inside Russian territory," Zolotaryov, a former senior officer at the Strategic Missile Force Staff, told TASS.
"The United States and its NATO allies are building up its cutting-edge smart weapons potential. The great discrepancy between their potential and Russia’s own capabilities cannot but cause alarm. Potentials’ disparity is always fraught with a risk to security. Russia is on the right track as it builds up both smart weapons and counter means. In fact, the United States and Russia are moving along parallel lines, Zolotaryov said.
The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS
"That the US has been launching missiles within the framework of NATO exercises does not look like something out of the ordinary to me. Russia, too, has been practicing attacks against ballistic missile targets with its new generation S-400 air defense system. That’s a normal competition procedure," the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, told TASS.
"The United States’ missile defense tests in Europe were a routine procedure to practice interaction between the naval component and the ground-based systems. We, Russian specialists, have seen nothing new in the just-held experiment. The United States was making such tests back six years ago," Sivkov said.
"Naturally, any military exercise is a hint or a warning. In this particular case it is our partners’ response to the use of Russian cruise missiles from the Caspian against Islamic State positions in Syria," Sivkov believes.
"The armed forces of NATO and Russia have the same task of keeping abreast of the world situation. Each country has the right to test its own weapons. And each country is entitled to the right to interpret another country’s actions as a challenge or a threat. This is also quite normal in the context of the current strained situation in the world," the deputy director of the Institute of Military-Political Studies, Aleksandr Khramchikhin, told TASS.
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