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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

No anti-missile radars in Russian embassies-Space Forces command

RIA Novosti

20/03/2007 15:13 MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - Ballistic missile early warning (BMEWS) radars will not be deployed on the premises of Russian embassies abroad, Russian Space Forces command said Tuesday.

"No BMEWS radars have ever been deployed, nor may be deployed [at Russian embassies abroad], in accordance with international law," the command said in a news release.

The commander of the Space Forces said Monday Russia could place radars at its embassies in several countries to track the launches of ballistic missiles abroad.

Colonel General Vladimir Popovkin said in an interview with the Novosti Kosmonavtiki [Space Technology News] magazine that the placement of advanced quantum-optical radars at its embassies will allow Russia "to spot launches otherwise undetectable from Russian territory" and adjust the trajectories of anti-ballistic missiles in case of a potential threat.

The Russian leadership has blasted U.S. plans to deploy anti-missile systems in Central Europe as a national security threat and pledged to take effective measures to counter the U.S. move.

The United States insists that the European shield is not aimed against Russia and is needed to deter possible attacks from "rogue states", including North Korea and Iran.

But the Russian general said that the deployment of U.S. missile shield elements in Central Europe enables Americans to monitor all launches of ballistic missiles from the European part of Russia and from Northern Fleet submarines, and to destroy these missiles at the initial stage of their flight path.

"If the United States really wanted protection from Iranian missiles it would have placed a [radar] station in Turkey, also a NATO member," Popovkin said.

He said a special command center will be built at Space Forces headquarters in Krasnoznamensk, near Moscow, to exercise centralized remote control of new compact radars at Russian embassies.

"We will use dedicated radio frequencies to program and re-program monitoring radars that require token technical maintenance," the general said.

The Space Forces chief also said that Russia will soon deploy a new Voronezh-type radar in the south of the country, near Armavir. It is scheduled to enter service in 2007, ending Russia's dependence on its radars located abroad, particularly the Daryal facility in Azerbaijan and two Dnepr stations in Ukraine, near Sebastopol and Mukachevo.

Popovkin said Russia does not have any "holes" in its early-warning missile threat coverage. In 2006, early-warning radars detected 12 ballistic missiles launches, including eight domestic and four foreign launches, and 11 carrier rocket lift-offs.

"This is a 100% detection rate for all objects passing through our radar coverage zone," the general said.

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