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U.S. missile defense in Europe could threaten Russia - viewpoint

RIA Novosti

31/01/2007 17:58 MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) - Although elements of a missile defense system the U.S. plans to deploy in Europe would not present an immediate danger to Russia, they could threaten the country in the future, a Russian expert said Wednesday.

Washington officially proposed placing a radar network in the Czech Republic on January 20, and two days later announced plans to start formal talks with Poland on the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems on its territory.

"For the time being, the technology the U.S. possesses would not enable it to efficiently bring down Russian missiles, which is why at present there's no real threat, even from the Polish deployment site," political scientist Alexander Pikayev of the World Economy and International Relations Institute told RIA Novosti.

Pikayev said that when the U.S. is able to create more effective interceptors, this will become a real threat to Russia.

"There is a threat here. It's not immediate, not today or tomorrow, but it is potentially a very serious one," he said.

Pikayev said former soviet Bloc countries Poland and the Czech Republic, who joined the European Union four years ago, will fulfill any request from the U.S.

Moscow has strongly opposed the deployment of an anti-missile shield in its former backyard in Central Europe, describing the plans as a threat to Russia's national security.

The U.S. has repeatedly argued that defenses in Europe could intercept possible intercontinental ballistic missiles from 'rogue' regimes, such as Iran and North Korea.

According to polls conducted by survey center Pentor, more than half (53%) of Poles are against deployment of American missile defense elements on the country's territory, while 34% support it.


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