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MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry has voiced concerns over the At Sea Demonstration-2015 exercises planned for this autumn that will involve the US and will simulate interception of Russian ballistic missiles.
"The drills will be conducted in the north-eastern part of the Atlantic and this can signal only that there are plans to practice intercepting Russian ballistic missiles. Such drills cannot but concern us," Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters.
The official commented on media reports that in October Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate was due to take part for the first time in the maneuvers of the countries of the Maritime Theater Missile Defense (MTMD) Forum.
The key goals of the drills, which besides the US will also involve Norway, the UK, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands and France, are to practise joint actions in air defence and antiballistic missile defense, and also the tests of the US SM-3 missile interceptor, he stressed.
According to Antonov, the enhancing capabilities of marine systems of intercepting ballistic missiles comes in parallel with the creation of stationary missile defense facilities in Europe.
At the same time NATO continues fulfilling its plans in the sphere of antimissile defense despite recent progress in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, the Russian deputy defense minister stressed.
"Statements of politicians and military chiefs of NATO countries on the adaptability of this project have been forgotten, and the Russian concerns continue being ignored," he said.
"Upon the alliance’s initiative, the dialogue on the military and political issues, including the missile shield, has been scrapped," Antonov reminded. "This allows actions without explaining the reasons and without reacting to Russia’s concerns," he said.
Meanwhile, Moscow’s repeated concerns about the anti-Russian potential of the missile defence system in Europe, also before the suspension of contacts, have not been refuted yet, he said.
Amid the unlimited development of the missile defence system that is capable of intercepting Russia’s ballistic missiles, Moscow has stated many times that it will be forced to "take retaliatory measures," he added.
The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS