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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian bombers could suppress U.S. missile shield - general

RIA Novosti

05/03/2007 13:05 MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's strategic aviation has sufficient potential to suppress elements of a U.S. missile defense shield should it be deployed in Central Europe, the commander of the Strategic Air Force said Monday.

"Missile shield elements, which are located in silos, are very vulnerable and have weak defenses," Lieutenant-General Igor Khvorov said. "Therefore, all aircraft deployed by [Russian] strategic aviation can either apply electronic counter-measures against them or physically destroy them."

Russia, which has been anxious about NATO bases that have appeared in former Communist-bloc countries and ex-Soviet republics, has blasted U.S. plans to deploy anti-missile systems in Central Europe as a national security threat and a destabilizing factor for Europe.

Washington said the defenses would be designed to counter possible strikes from North Korea and Iran, which are involved in long-running disputes with the international community over their nuclear programs.

General Pyotr Deinekin, a former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, said the deployment of U.S. missile shield elements in Eastern Europe "enables Americans to considerably expand their possibilities from the point of view of reconnaissance and the elimination of Russian missiles in the initial stage of their flight trajectory."

"We should now expect the deployment of their intermediate and short-range missiles in the former countries of the Warsaw Pact, including in the Baltic States," Deinekin said.

In that situation, Deinekin said, the Russian General Staff should calmly take adequate measures not only to contain, but to actively eliminate those facilities as well, including with the use of Strategic Air Force aviation assets.

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