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Dmitry Medvedev takes tough stance on European missile defense

November 24, 2011, 13:18 UTC+3
Dmitry Medvedev decided to unveil these plans after the failure in talks with U.S. leader Barack Obama at the recent APEC summit
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MOSCOW, November 24 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made an unprecedentedly tough statement on the deployment of U.S. missile defense facilities in Europe. He announced a range of military moves Russia would make in response. Experts noted that in effect, Russia has nothing to set against the expansion of U.S. missile defense.

Dmitry Medvedev decided to unveil these plans after the failure in talks with U.S. leader Barack Obama at the recent APEC summit, the Kommersant writes. Despite the tough reaction of the Kremlin, "Kommersant" sources in NATO said it would not slow down the implementation of the missile defense project. This means that the "reset" of Russia-U.S. relations has been suspended, at the very least. The missile defense dialogue will be suspended throughout 2012, an election year both for Russia and the United States.

The tone and content of the Wednesday televised address to the nation were the toughest in all the four years of Medvedev's tenure, the newspaper said. Having accused the USA and NATO of the intention to undermine Russia's security, and reproaching them for the unwillingness to give Russia legal guarantees that missile defense would not target his country, the Russian leader named retaliatory measures. Firstly, Dmitry Medvedev ordered to put on line the radar in Kaliningrad, an element of the national missile attack warning system. Secondly, Russia would reinforce the protection of strategic nuclear forces' facilities with the means of the air-space defense system which is now being established.

Thirdly, "strategic ballistic missiles will be equipped with modern systems to overcome missile defense." Lastly, Medvedev ordered to work out measures to dismantle information and control facilities of the missile defense shield. The president called these measures adequate, effective and inexpensive.

If the USA and NATO do not heed Russia after this, the Kremlin has more decisive moves in store. "Russia will deploy in the west and south of the country the modern offensive armaments which ensure destruction of the European component of missile defense, Dmitry Medvedev warned.

Specifically, Russia will field the Iskander missile systems in the Kaliningrad region. The president also threatened that Moscow might withdraw from the START treaty, the key result of "resetting" relations with the USA.

High-placed Kremlin and Foreign Ministry officials told the Kommersant that the Kremlin would continue the tough line against the USA, if Washington makes no concessions. Experts are convinced that it would freeze the bilateral dialogue. "One should not expect headway in missile defense until the spring of 2013. Elections will take place in Russia, and after that in the USA. Talks may begin after the inauguration of the U.S. prescient," editor-in-chief of the Russia in Global Affairs magazine Fyodor Lukyanov said.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that Medvedev's televised addressed evoked controversial response among military experts.

"Apparently the president was set up," the newspaper quoted head of the center for international security under the Institute of International Economy and International Relationship Alexei Arbatov as saying.

"Somebody, who wants a tough reaction from the West, wrote it for him. As for the threat to withdraw from the START treaty, it is like "freezing off one's ears just to spite mother."

President of the Academy on Geopolitical Affairs Leonid Ivashov, quoted by the RBK Daily, believes that Russia has nothing to counter the current option of missile defense expansion with.

"Clearly, the USA will make no concession in its missile defense program, because both the Republicans and the Democrats are at one that deploying a missile defense shield in Europe is a tremendous economic, scientific and technological task whose implementation involves thousands of companies, and tremendous sums have been allocated for this purpose. They will go the whole way, despite all our threats," the expert said.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets believes that Russia cannot realize its threats of "adequate military-technological response." In the president condition, Russia has only two options for the possibility to destroy a base in Romania: by deploying Iskander systems in the Dniester region," or somehow putting a multi-role submarine with missile armaments in the Black Sea. From the technical point of view, both options look almost fantastic, and on top of that, such actions will cause a grandiose international scandal.

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