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Medvedev: Russia Will Counter U.S. Missile Defense

RIA Novosti

18:13 21/02/2012 TATISHCHEVO (Saratov Region), February 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will continue with the overhaul of its missile defense unless the United States drops its plans for a European missile shield or proposes a scheme for a joint effort, the Russian president said on Tuesday.

“This does not mean the beginning of confrontation, but it means that we cannot treat their [U.S.] plans indifferently since it concerns our strategic interests,” President Dmitry Medvedev said.

In his address to the nation last November, Medvedev said that if Moscow's participation in the European missile defense project fails, Russia would deploy Iskander tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad Region and halt its disarmament and arms control efforts, including participation in the new strategic arms reduction treaty with the United States.

“We will do everything in the direction voiced by me earlier, with the only exception being if our partners drop their plans or propose to us a scheme for participating in the joint development of missile defenses,” Medvedev said.

In one of the most recent efforts to overhaul the missile defense, Russia delivered on Tuesday new S-400 Triumf air defense systems to its Western Military District and pledged to put them on alert duty in a month.

Russia-NATO missile defense talks have stalled as Moscow seeks legally binding guarantees that the U.S.-backed European missile defense program will not be directed against it.

Washington, however, refuses to provide written guarantees, saying the shield is not directed against Russia but rather rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.

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