ST PETERSBURG, June 20 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the USA's proposal to cut strategic offensive potentials cannot be taken seriously as long as missile defense system is developed.
"How can we possibly take this thesis about cutting the strategic nuclear potentials seriously, when the USA is building up the potential to intercept this strategic potential?" Rogozin told reporters, "obviously, the top political leadership cannot take these assurances seriously."
He underlined that defense and offensive systems were interconnected things: "An arms race entails a race of defense armaments and vice versa. Misunderstanding it means lying openly, dissembling, bluffing or showing one's complete unprofessionalism."
Rogozin reminded that Russia demands legal guarantees that the missile defense system is not aimed at Russia. "But I wish to speak not from a diplomat's point of view, but from the point of view of the person responsible for the development of the defense sector, that we'll trust not so much public political guarantees as Russia's technical opportunities to ensure its own safety. It's the best guarantee when we know that we have a potential to respond to any aggression," he said.
The deputy prime minister underlined that at present, the USA's missile defense envisions four stages. "There emerges this question: just four stages? Perhaps, they'll be followed by the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth stages," he suggested.
Head of the committee for international affairs under the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament Mikhail Margelov believes the discussion of the U.S. proposal is only possible in a distant future.
Firstly, the missile defense problem is the first obstacle to such a discussion. "Obama's proposal is closely linked with the problem of missile defense in Europe in the first place; because this system potentially can upset the strategic deterrence balance," Margelov told Itar-Tass.
Also, there is a problem of the "nuclear club," which includes other countries beside the USA and Russia. "On top of that, other countries are seeking to enter this club, secretly or openly, and since the USA and Russia are not the only nuclear weapons states, it is obvious that the issues of cutting stockpiles of nuclear weapons are not only for these two countries," he stated.
On Wednesday, U.S. leader Barack Obama suggested cutting the U.S. and Russian nuclear potentials by one-third compared with the present level, set by the 2010 treaty on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms.