US missile defense plan change not to appease Moscow’s opposition on European missile defense system

MOSCOW: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkovl has said that the United States’ recent steps to cancel the missile defense project in Poland and to deploy additional interceptors in Alaska will not appease Moscow’s opposition on the European missile defense system.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week announced that US plans to place missile interceptors in Poland and possibly Romania were being abandoned. Instead, additional interceptors would be placed in Alaska in reply to the growing threats from North Korea, he announced.

“This is not a concession to Russia and we do not perceive it as such,”  Sergey Ryabkov said while commenting on the news that the US had canceled the fourth stage of the deployment of the anti-missile system in Eastern Europe.

“I see no connection between Russia’s objections to the deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe and the announcement made by the US defense secretary,” Ryabkov said in an interview.

“All aspects of strategic uncertainty, connected with the creation of the US and NATO missile defenses remain. Therefore, our objections also remain in force,” he said.

The Russian Deputy FM said the missile defense elements the US plans to deploy in Europe, both sea- and land-based, are very mobile and their location can be changed in days.

As for the plans to put additional heavy interceptors in Alaska and California, the Russian official said this move would significantly add to the US capabilities in missile defense.

“We feel no euphoria over what the US Defense Secretary announced and we see no grounds to change our stance. We will continue the dialogue and lead it towards the legally binding guarantees that all elements of the US missile defense are not targeted against Russia,” Ryabkov concluded.

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