SOCHI, January 11. /TASS/. Russia’s attempts to convince NATO against military involvement in Libya and Iraq had nothing to do with the alleged anti-Western rhetoric and were voiced only as a warning from possible mistakes, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with German daily Bild.
"We have been actively opposing everything that took place, let us say, in Iraq, Libya and some other countries," Putin said. "We used to say do not do it, do not get involved there and make mistakes."
"Nobody listened to us! On the contrary, it was believed that we [Russia] assumed some sort of anti-Western stance, which is hostile toward the West," he said. "As of now, when you have hundreds of thousands and even a million of refugees, you think our stance was anti-Western or pro-Western?"
The Russian president also spoke about the ongoing development of the US-initiated missile shield in Europe deployed to counter possible nuclear missile threat allegedly posed by Iran.
Putin recalled US President Barack Obama’s words that in case the nuclear threat from Iran ceased to exist there would be no prerequisites at all for the deployment of the missile shield in Europe.
"An agreement with Iran has been signed, issues concerning the lift of sanctions against Iran are currently under consideration, everything is under control of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Association], and first loads of uranium are delivered to Russia for reprocessing," Putin said.
"However, the missile shield [in Europe] keeps growing," the Russian president said adding that the United States recently signed relevant agreements with Turkey, Romania, Poland and Spain.
The United States for the first time held tests under the European missile defense program in October. 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 at that time that the exercise demonstrated the United States’ readiness to protect Europe with ships armed with the Aegis missile defense system.
Less than a month ago, the United States carried out a test launch on Thursday of an SM-3 missile, which was the first to be test-fired from an ashore site to intercept a ballistic missile of an intended enemy, as part of the country’s mooted missile shield plan in Europe.
A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) was test-fired from a military site in Hawaii's Kauai to intercept an air-launched dummy ballistic missile, which was on its target-intended course over the Pacific Ocean.
Russia and US-led NATO have been in a long dispute over US missile shield plans in Europe, which the United States said was aimed to defend its allies from possible missile threats emerging from Iran and North Korea.
Russia viewed the deployment of the missile shield near its borders as a threat to its national security and in 2011 then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced a set of measures to counter the US-proposed missile defense system in Europe. The measures particularly included the construction of new air-defense radar systems and deployment of Iskander missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, which borders on Europe.