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Russia Sees No Progress at Missile Defense Talks

RIA Novosti

18:24 29/02/2012 KALININGRAD, February 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has seen no progress in missile defense talks with NATO, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.

“We have no grounds to speak of progress, no grounds to say that we may agree on a [joint] document by May [when Chicago hosts a NATO summit],” Ryabkov told journalists.

He also said the Russian leadership has not yet decided whether it will attend the summit.

“This decision is to be made by the next president. I think it is premature to raise this issue now,” the deputy foreign minister said, adding that the decision may also depend on whether the sides are able to find a compromise on missile defense.

NATO members agreed to create a missile shield over Europe to protect it against ballistic missiles launched by so-called rogue states, for example Iran and North Korea, at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010.

Russia has strongly criticized NATO’s reluctance to provide written, legally binding guarantees that its European missile shield will not be directed against Moscow.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered in November a series of measures designed to strengthen the country’s missile defense capabilities in response to NATO’s shield, including the deployment of Iskander missiles in Russia's exclave of Kaliningrad on the border with Poland.

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