MOSCOW, March 6 (Itar-Tass) – Russian Army General Staff, Colonel-General Valery Gerasimov has invited his U.S. counterpart, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to come to Moscow to discuss missile defence.
“I have invited my colleague, General Martin Dempsey, with whom I have a respectful working relationship, to visit Moscow this year. Missile defence will be one of the topics for our discussion,” Gerasimov said on Wednesday, March 6, at a meeting with foreign military attaches in Moscow.
He noted that Russia and NATO have achieved “good results” in a number of areas of their bilateral cooperation but some disagreements remain, specifically over NATO’s enlargement, creation of its military infrastructure near the Russian border, and deployment of a missile defence system.
“We do not question NATO’s right to build anti-missile defence for itself, but we cannot agree with the fact that this will be done by reducing Russia’s deterrence capabilities,” Gerasimov said.
He believes that time has come for a serious talk on European security. “We are planning to host an international conference in Moscow, to which we have invited defence ministers of some European countries, the United States, Canada and other states, as well as heads of international organsiations such as NATO, the EU, the CSTO, and the OSCE,” Gerasimov said.
Russia is ready to discuss cooperation with NATO in the field of missile defence in Europe, Gerasimov said after a Russia-NATO Council meeting in January.
“Our concerns remain. We hope that the alliance will take steps that will help resolve them. We said all this frankly to our colleagues,” he said.
Gerasimov stressed that Russia is ready “to continue the discussion and, among other things, work out in the Russia-NATO Council a joint review of framework conditions for possible cooperation on missile defence in Europe”.
He recalled the international conference on missile defence in Moscow in 2012, where Russia spoke of its concerns “very openly”. Russia stressed at the conference that if NATO’s missile defence system becomes partly capable of intercepting Russian ballistic missiles by 2018, Russia would have to deploy up-to-date attack systems in the south and west of the country in order to suppress missile defence facilities if they are used against Russia.
One of Moscow’s demands to NATO is that its missile defence facilities should be moved away from the Russian borders in order to avoid a situation where NATO will be able to intercept missiles over the whole of western part of Russia. It has so far not received any clear answer to that.
“We have no intention to limit NATO in building an anti-missile shield against missile threats from the Middle East, but we have a right to expect that the protection of NATO countries will not be ensured to the detriment of Russia’s security,” Gerasimov said.
“It’s hard to built trusting relations if our deterrence capabilities are held at gunpoint by NATO’s missile defence system. So we agreed today to continue the dialogue in order to look for a way out of this situation together,” he said.