ST. PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday the U.S. missile defense system being deployed in Europe has the potential of turning into an offensive system and may be used against the Russian Federation.
"There’s no [nuclear] threat [from Iran], and the missile defense system [in Europe] is still being built, so we were right when we said they are deceiving us, they are not sincere with us referring to the alleged Iranian nuclear threat during the construction of the missile defense system," Putin said.
"It is like this actually - they tried to deceive us once again," he said at a meeting with the heads of global information agencies.
"We know approximately which year the Americans will get a new missile that will have a range of not 500 kilometers but more, and from that moment they will start threatening our nuclear potential. We know what will be going on by years. And they know that we know," Putin underscored.
He stated that the United States, "despite all our objections, all our proposals on real cooperation, does not want to cooperate with us, rejects our proposals and acts in accordance with its plan."
"You may believe me or not, but we have suggested specific variants of cooperation, they have all really been rejected," Putin said.
He recalled that missile defense system elements have been built in Romania. "What have they constantly said? 'We need to protect ourselves from Iran’s nuclear threat.' Where’s the Iranian nuclear threat? There’s none!" Putin said.
Russian President said he is worried that military confrontation between Russia and the United States "is dragging the world into a new dimension."
"People feel no danger and I that is alarming for me. Can we see that we are dragging the world into an utterly new dimension. This is the problem," Putin said on Friday at a meeting with CEO’s of the world’s leading news agencies organized by TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
He said he doesn’t know how to "bring it home" to partners from other countries.
"I don’t know where it [the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system in Europe] might lead to but I know for sure that we will have to answer," he stressed, adding with a smile that he is sure in any case Russia "will again be accused of aggressive behavior, although it is just an answer."
"It is clear that we will have to ensure not only our own security. It is vital for us to ensure strategic balance in the world," Putin said.
He recalled previous discussions with the United States of the idea to build non-nuclear ballistic missiles. "We said then: ‘Do you understand what it is? You will have missiles launched from submarines, from territory. A ballistic missile is fired, and we don’t know if it contains a nuclear warhead or not," the Russian president said.
"It is the strategic balance that has secured peace on the planet from big armed conflicts over the past 70 years, and it is good, although it is based on a mutual threat, but it has ensured global peace for us for decades. How can it be destroyed? It seems to me it is very dangerous. I am convinced of that," he said.
Putin did not advise Canada to abstain from joining the missile defense system in Europe. "We can’t tell you what to do. Do as you wish. And we will do as we consider necessary to ensure our security," he said.