Medvedev: Russia Must Be Able Respond to US Missile Defense

Posted March 20th, 2012 at 4:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says Russia must prepare itself to respond to the U.S. missile defense system in Europe despite ongoing dialogue between Moscow and Washington.

Mr. Medvedev told a meeting of senior defense officials that Russia must be fully armed by 2017-2018 to be able to respond to the U.S.-led NATO missile shield accordingly. But he added that Moscow is not closing the door on contacts and that it continues to discuss the plan with its partners.

Russia has been objecting to the U.S. missile defense system in Europe since its conception, saying it threatens its security. U.S. officials have repeatedly assured Moscow that the shield is intended to protect Europe and its allies from possible attacks by rogue states such as Iran or North Korea.

NATO has said it wants to cooperate with Russia on the missile shield but has rejected Moscow's proposal to run it jointly.

President Medvedev also said Tuesday that Russia should have such military power that no one in the world would want to test it.

The NATO missile shield will be discussed at the NATO summit in Chicago in late May, after a G-8 summit at Camp David. By then, Vladimir Putin will be sworn in as Russia's next president. He has not yet said if he would attend the NATO summit.