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Defense source warns of threat to states hosting missile shield

RIA Novosti

19/07/2007 15:46 MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - A source in Russia's Defense Ministry warned Thursday that countries that host missile defense systems are not improving their own security, but are putting themselves and their neighbors at risk.

The source told RIA Novosti that the expansion of the United States missile defense system would cause serious environmental problems in several parts of the world, as the interception of an intercontinental ballistic missile creates a vast zone of destruction.

His comments echo warnings earlier in the week from Yury Baluyevsky, chief of staff of the Russian Armed Forces, who urged Poland, which along with the Czech Republic has agreed to host elements of the Pentagon's missile shield on its territory, to consider the dangers the country is exposing itself to.

The ministry source said: "Should a U.S. anti-missile intercept a ballistic or other type of missile in Europe, substantial tracts of land would be affected in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, and a number of other states. Radioactive elements will be dispersed across these countries' territories," he said.

Russia does not regard components of the U.S. missile defense system in isolation from each other, he said.

"Europe, Alaska, naval components, and space-based tracking, control and communication systems - all of these are elements of the U.S. missile defense system," he said.

He said that as far as Russia is concerned, it does not matter exactly how many interceptor missiles are deployed in a particular area. "What is of primary importance is the sheer fact that a global missile defense infrastructure is being created around Russia," he said.

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