Russia Unfazed By Suspension of Antimissile Talks with U.S.

Global Security Newswire Staff
April 4, 2014, 6:49 a.m.

Rus­sia is un­fazed by the U.S. an­nounce­ment last week that an­ti­mis­sile co­oper­a­tion talks have been sus­pen­ded due to the events in Ukraine, In­ter­fax re­por­ted.

The two coun­tries had been hold­ing pre­lim­in­ary dis­cus­sions on areas of pos­sible mis­sile de­fense col­lab­or­a­tion in ac­cord with a 2010 Lis­bon agree­ment. However, the talks nev­er gained much trac­tion due to fun­da­ment­al dif­fer­ences of opin­ion about U.S. mis­sile in­ter­cept­ors planned for field­ing in the com­ing years in Europe. Mo­scow sees the weapons as a threat to its nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al and does not ac­cept polit­ic­al as­sur­ances from Wash­ing­ton that the mis­siles are only in­ten­ded as pro­tec­tion from pos­sible at­tacks launched from the Middle East.

M. Elaine Bunn, a deputy as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary of De­fense, last week con­firmed to Con­gress that the an­ti­mis­sile co­oper­a­tion talks had been sus­pen­ded as a con­sequence of Rus­sia’s forced an­nex­a­tion of Ukraine’s Crimean Pen­in­sula.

Asked by In­ter­fax for a re­sponse, Rus­si­an Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Ry­ab­kov on Thursday said: “I need to say that co­oper­a­tion does not ex­ist in this sphere.”

“The Amer­ic­an side is well aware of the fact that op­por­tun­it­ies for such co­oper­a­tion could emerge if Wash­ing­ton agreed to heed our de­mand to provide re­li­able and leg­ally-bind­ing guar­an­tees that the glob­al mis­sile de­fense sys­tem be­ing built by the U.S. … will not be dir­ec­ted against [Rus­sia],” the deputy min­is­ter con­tin­ued.

Rus­si­an Lt. Gen. Yev­geny Buzh­in­sky, the former head of the de­fense min­istry’s in­ter­na­tion­al agree­ments de­part­ment, told RIA Nov­osti the sus­pen­sion of the talks was not much of a loss to Mo­scow. “Talks or no talks, they don’t make a dif­fer­ence any­way,” he said.

Ig­or Korotchen­ko, ed­it­or-in-chief of Na­tion­al De­fense Magazine, said the time had come for Rus­sia to im­ple­ment some of the mil­it­ary coun­ter­meas­ures it pre­vi­ously warned about should its con­cerns about the im­plic­a­tions of U.S. an­ti­mis­sile sys­tems in Europe go un­re­solved.

Mo­scow has re­peatedly said it could de­ploy tac­tic­al Iskander bal­list­ic mis­siles to Ka­lin­in­grad, a Rus­si­an ex­clave that bor­ders NATO mem­bers Po­land and Lithuania. Po­land is set in 2018 to be­gin host­ing ad­vanced U.S. in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­sile in­ter­cept­ors that Rus­sia is par­tic­u­larly ag­grav­ated about. Korotchen­ko also re­com­men­ded that Rus­sia de­ploy nuc­le­ar-cap­able air­craft in Crimea.

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