News / Europe

US: Missile Defense in Europe No Threat to Russia

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid