News / Europe

US: Missile Defense in Europe No Threat to Russia

The United States has reiterated that its planned missile defense system for Europe, aimed at Iran, will not threaten Russia’s strategic missile deterrent. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev warned Wednesday that Moscow will take counter-measures against the U.S. system being developed with NATO.

The Obama administration is again reassuring Russia about the missile defense plan but also saying the project is going well and will not be limited or changed.

The comments from the White House and State Department followed a speech by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in which he renewed threats by Moscow to counter the program by putting missiles near NATO countries and possibly leaving the new U.S.-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction accord, or New-START.

U.S. plans for missile defenses in Europe to counter what is seen as an emerging threat from Iran have long been an irritant in relations with Moscow.

In 2009, the Obama administration scrapped plans for a system of radars and interceptors based in Poland and the Czech Republic for a less-ambitious project with sites in Poland, Romania and perhaps other NATO countries.

But Wednesday’s televised speech by Mr. Medvedev made clear Moscow’s concerns remain. He revived a threat to counter the U.S. plan with missiles in the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad and said the dispute could be “a basis” for Moscow leaving New-START.

A White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said Russia has been assured repeatedly the envisaged system does not and cannot threaten Russia’s large strategic arsenal, and that the United States will not in any way limit of change the program.

State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said a U.S. offer to bring Moscow into the anti-missile program stands and that the administration remains committed to improved relations overall. “We’ve seen these comments before. Again, our focus is on cooperation, is on making clear to Russian authorities that this is in no way a system that directed at Russia.  It’s directed as I said to a threat to our allies in Europe, and in Russia, in fact from Iran," he said.

Arms control expert Bruce MacDonald, a senior adviser at the U.S. Institute of Peace, says Moscow is understandably sensitive about any potential threat to its strategic deterrent which, he said, helps define its big-power status.

But the former White House and Congressional aide said Russian concerns about the missile defense plan are  largely not valid. “The Russians have a lot of respect for our technological capabilities, and they tend to be, I think, hyper-sensitive on this issue. And they are imagining things that are just extremely unlikely to happen. We’re not going to suddenly develop a huge missile defense system. On the very remote chance that we would, they’d have plenty of time to accommodate or respond to it, since this would take a long time," he said.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was very disappointed over the Medvedev remarks which he said are inconsistent with the strategic relationship Russia and NATO have agreed to pursue.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid