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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid