Moscow, Feb 8 (Itar-Tass) Further development anddeployment of the US missile defence system can undermineRussia''s strategic deterrence potential, Deputy DefenceMinister Anatoly Antonov has warned.
"We are closely watching what the United States is doingin the field of missile defence and what it is planning tocreate after completing its deployment plans," Antonov saidwhile reacting to US President Barack Obama''s remarks that thecreation of an American missile defence system is not a reasonfor Russia''s hypothetical secession from the New START treaty.
"There are no other missiles in Europe that can threatenthe US There are only Russian missiles that can be interceptedby this system," he said.
Earlier in a letter to ranking Senate members, Obama saidit is the policy of the United States to continue developmentand deployment of United States missile defence systems todefend against missile threats from nations such as NorthKorea and Iran, including qualitative and quantitativeimprovements to such systems.
He stressed that "these systems do not and will notthreaten the strategic balance with the Russian Federation."
"Consequently, while the United States cannotcircumscribe the sovereign rights of the Russian Federationunder paragraph 3 of Article XIV of the Treaty, the UnitedStates believes continued improvement and deployment of UnitedStates missile defence systems do not constitute a basis forquestioning the effectiveness and viability of the Treaty, andtherefore would not give rise to circumstances justifying thewithdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Treaty," thepresident said.
Antonov recalled Russia''s proposal to the US and NATO towork together on missile defence to make it a consolidatingproject, not a separating one. "This is what is said in thestatement of our President Dmitry Medvedev," the officialsaid.
Russia will accept NATO''s proposal to create a jointmissile defence system if it''s a serious proposal, Medvedevsaid earlier.
"If this is a serious proposal, we can [say yes to NATO''soffer of cooperation with Russia in the creation of a commonmissile defence system not only for Europe but for Russia andEurope]," he said.
"Moscow has long been suggesting global protection, thatthe missile defence system should protect not only one countryor a group of countries, but that it should be in theinterests of all responsible members of the internationalcommunity. I stress responsible," the president said.