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European missile defense system either with Russia or against Russia - NATO envoy

RIA Novosti

17:38 02/12/2010 MOSCOW, December 2 (RIA Novosti) - The missile defense system in Europe can be created either with Russia's participation or against the country, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday.

"Missile defense in Europe can only be created with Russia, or directed against Russia," Rogozin said at a press conference in Moscow, adding: "There is no third option."

He said Russia does not see any missile threats in northern Europe, so the defense systems should not be deployed there. Rogozin added that in any other scenario, Russia would have to develop its missile systems.

"If we see that our partners are increasing their defensive capabilities, we cannot idly sit by," Rogozin said.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of NATO missile-defense facilities near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat and destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

The United States scrapped earlier plans last September for an antimissile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Moscow welcomed the move, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said later that Russia would drop plans to deploy Iskander-M tactical missiles in its Kaliningrad Region, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania.

Russia is also ready to cooperate with NATO in monitoring nuclear programs in other countries.

The NATO-Russia Council agreed to resume theater missile defense exercises and continue cooperation on the joint assessment of ballistic missile threats and the fight against sea piracy.

Medvedev said on Wednesday that a pan-European security treaty would be needed "sooner or later."

Russia will be forced to build up its nuclear forces if the United States does not ratify the New Strategic Arms Ratification Treaty, Putin told CNN's Larry King during an interview aired on Wednesday.



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