Russia will pull out from the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and refuse from the steps in the field of disarmament, if the USA continues to build the missile defense system in Europe, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated in a televised address to the nation Wednesday.
According to Medvedev, Russia is going to deploy Iskander missile complexes in the west and in the south of the country. The systems will guarantee the total destruction of the European part of the air defense system.
In addition, Russia's new strategic ballistic missiles will be outfitted with advanced complexes to overcome the air defense system. The missiles will also have highly efficient warheads, Medvedev said.
The president ordered the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to start elaborating the measures which, if necessary, would guarantee the destruction of informational and administering means of the air defense system.
The President also charged the Defense Ministry of Russia with putting the radar system in the Kaliningrad enclave in operation.
Medvedev emphasized that Russia was still prepared to continue the dialogue with the United States and NATO regarding the issue of missile defense. However, the president said, this cooperation must be conducted on the legal base, which would protect Russia's legal interests.
"We still have time to reach mutual understanding. Russia has political will in reaching necessary agreements, which may open a principally new page in our relations with the USA and the North Atlantic Alliance," Medvedev stated.
The Russian president is still certain that the creation of the joint missile defense system in Europe will give Russia and NATO opportunities for genuine strategic partnership. He reminded of his initiative of the sectoral missile defense system. Each side would be responsible for a certain sector, whereas cooperation would be based on the principles of equality, mutual confidence and predictability. However, Western partners have not demonstrated "serious readiness for moving in this direction," Medvedev noted.
Russia will not agree to take part in the missile defense program which would weaken the strategic potential of the country in several years. This program is currently being developed, Medvedev. "It's being implemented in Poland, Turkey, Romania, Spain, and they make us face the facts," the head of state said.
"They are not going to, at least for the time being, take account of our concerns about the architecture of the European missile defense system. They only tell us that their plans are not targeted against Russia. This is not against you, don't worry, they say - they want us to calm down," Medvedev stated.
According to the Russian president, such remarks can be heard on the level of executive power. "However, law-makers in several countries tell us directly - "this is all against you - keep that in mind." When we ask them to put that all on paper in the form of precise legal obligations, they say no," the president stressed out.
Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the project of the European missile defense system at the summit in Lisbon in November 2010. The talks reached a deadlock because the USA refused to guarantee that the air defense system in Europe would not be aimed against Russia.
Medvedev's unusually tough statements have not led to expected results. Official spokespeople for the US administration stated that they were not going to refuse from missile defense plans.
"Implementation of the New (Strategic Arms Reduction) Treaty is going well and we see no basis for threats to withdraw from it. We continue to believe that cooperation with Russia on missile defense can enhance the security of the United States, our allies in Europe and Russia, and we will continue to work with Russia to define the parameters of possible cooperation. However, in pursuing this cooperation, we will not in any way limit or change our deployment plans in Europe," Fox News quoted National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor as saying.
It is not ruled out that the positions of Moscow and Washington will shelve the missile defense talks at least before the spring of 2013, when the United States and Russia have new presidents. Experts say that the current state of affairs may seriously affect the reset of relations between the two countries.
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