Russia's envoy to NATO urged the United States to hold broader consultations with Moscow on its plans to deploy missile defense sites in Europe, saying in an interview published Wednesday that Russia was disappointed by a lack of U.S. cooperation.
Gen. Konstantin Totsky also accused Washington of blocking Russian cooperation with NATO on developing a joint missile defense system for Europe.
"We have now come to a stage when we have run out of trust," Totsky told the daily Noviye Izvestia. "That's the most sad and painful thing."
President Vladimir Putin said last month that he does not trust U.S. claims that the planned deployment of an anti-missile radar in the Czech republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland were aimed to counter a potential threat from Iran, and warned of countermeasures. The head of Russia's missile forces said later that his forces would be capable of targeting the missile defense sites in both nations.
U.S. officials have said the administration has long consulted with Moscow on the missile defense plans, but Totsky said that U.S. briefings on the subject had not assuaged Russian concerns. He called for more thorough discussions at the expert level.
"Consultations mean an exchange of opinions, discussion, taking a partner's opinion into account. And what they do is give us a briefing to announce the decision already made by the United States to deploy missile defense elements," Totsky said in the interview.
He said Russia wants a meeting involving ballistics experts, missile designers and other specialists in the field to discuss the U.S. plan. "Scientists won't be able to cheat one another, and it would be impossible to sell a picture which doesn't correspond to reality," Totsky said, reports AP.
He said that Russian cooperation with NATO on missile defense for Europe, launched under a 2002 partnership agreement, has been blocked by Washington. "We are offering to cooperate, but they refuse," Totsky said.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969