Russian news agencies quote a top Russian general who says Moscow may quit a key Soviet-era arms reduction treaty with the United States.
General Yuri Baluyevsky, who is chief of the Russian military's general staff, says the decision to abandon the treaty will depend on whether Washington presses ahead with its proposed missile defense system in eastern Europe.
Moscow has voiced strong opposition to the proposed NATO system, which would place anti-missile rockets in Poland and missile guidance technology in the Czech republic.
Moscow argues that the U.S. plan will put NATO missiles and missile technology on Russia's doorstep.
However, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack Thursday insisted again the defense missiles will not be pointed at Russia. He said the system is meant to protect Europe from attacks by rogue states like Iran.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev negotiated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.