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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Deployment of U.S. Missile Defense in Europe Is Threat to Russia - Military Chief

A top Russian general said his country would view the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense components in eastern and central Europe as a security threat and take retaliatory measures, according to an article published Tuesday and quoted by AP.

Yevgeny Buzhinsky, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s international military cooperation department, urged the United States and its allies to refrain from unilateral action and negotiate with Moscow.

“The deployment of missile defense near the Russian borders could pose a real threat to our deterrent forces,” Buzhinsky said in an article published in the daily Izvestia. “We would view that as an unfriendly gesture on behalf of the United States, some eastern European nations and NATO as a whole. Such actions would require taking adequate retaliatory measures of military and political character.”

Buzhinsky wouldn’t elaborate how exactly Russia could respond to the possible deployment of U.S. missile defense components in such nations as Poland and Czech Republic, but he warned that “a buildup of military potential near the Russian borders wouldn’t strengthen the European security.”

“It’s still not too late to analyze possible negative consequences of unilateral actions in security sphere and try to avert them,” Buzhinsky wrote in the article.

Buzhinsky warned that the deployment of U.S. missile defense components could also make them a desirable target for terrorists. “Advertising missile defense capabilities, the importance of these facilities for the United States and a strong public reaction that can be caused by their destruction would make these sites an attractive target for terror attacks,” he said.

Moscow has opposed U.S. plans to deploy a national missile defense system, dismissing Washington’s assertions that it would be directed against missile threats from rogue states, not Russia. Moscow, however, has said it is eager to cooperate with NATO partners in developing defenses against short-range missiles.

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