Russia's foreign minister Tuesday reaffirmed Moscow's concern over U.S. plans to deploy missile defense sites in Europe, saying Russia would respond but would not enter a new arms race.
Poland and the Czech Republic both indicated Monday that they were ready to move forward with plans by Washington under which the U.S. would put 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.
"Russia will respond to emerging threats to its national security in a carefully weighed, adequate way, and won't allow anyone to draw it into a new confrontation, a new arms race," Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday in a speech at a Moscow university.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has said he does not trust American claims that the move is aimed at countering a missile threat from Iran and pledged countermeasures. At a conference in Munich earlier this month, he criticized U.S. foreign policy, accusing Washington of uncontained use of force worldwide and of triggering a global arms race in angry comments that shocked Western governments, reports AP.
On Monday, Russia's missile forces commander Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov warned Monday that Poland and the Czech Republic risk being targeted by Russian missiles if they agree to host U.S. missile defense bases.
Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia also was concerned about NATO forces' deployment near its borders and the alliance's refusal to ratify a modified version of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty regulating the deployment of tank, aircraft and other heavy non-nuclear weapons around the continent.
Lavrov has warned earlier that NATO's refusal to ratify the document had made the treaty "meaningless," and signaled that Moscow could opt out of it.