US anti-missile launch may provoke counter-attack:Russian Army chief

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Moscow, Dec 15 (UNI) The Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen Yury Baluyevsky today warned a possible US launch of an interceptor missile from Central Europe may provoke a counter-attack by Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM).

''If we suppose that Iran wants to strike the United States, then interceptor missiles, which would be launched from Poland, will fly towards Russia,'' Gen Baluyevsky said, adding the shape of interceptor missiles and their flight trajectory are very similar with ICBMs.

The top Russian military commander said Russia operates automated missile warning systems, which could respond automatically in case the US fires an anti-missile across Russia against a possible ballistic missile form Iran.

He stressed the US still keeps high on the agenda an issue of a possible global confrontation with Russia.

''The issue of, to put it mildly, confrontation with Russia, including a direct confrontation, is unfortunately still regarded by my counterparts from the Pentagon as relevant," RIA Novosti news quoted Gen Baluyevsky as saying.

''US missile shield plans in Central Europe are aimed to change the current security system in Europe and not against possible strikes from 'rogue states','' he noted.

Washington wants to place a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, to counter a missile threat from Iran and other 'rogue states.' Moscow has responded angrily to the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia's national security.

Meanwhile, Russian Space Forces Commander Col Gen Vladimir Popovkin told Interfax news agency that the plans to deploy Russian Space Forces were taking into account the threats emerging with the construction of the third position of the US missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

''The plans to develop the Space Forces were elaborated to counter any new threats if they emerge,'' Col Gen Popovkin said answering a question as to whether the programme to develop military forces in space was a response to US actions in creating a global missile defence system.

The plans on the development of the Space Forces began to form after the US withdrew from the Russian-US Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM)treaty of 1972 when the US began to create a global system of missile defence, he said ''Currently we do not see any changes in the US position on missile defence,'' Col Gen Popovkin said.


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