Russia can beat US missile shield in Europe: BushApril 2nd, 2008 - 12:31 pm ICT by admin
Moscow, April 2 (RIA Novosti) US President George W. Bush has said the missile shield planned for central Europe would be not be a threat to Moscow, as Russia has sufficient firepower to overcome the proposed defence system. Bush, currently on a visit to Kiev, told journalists following a meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko: “Russia could easily overwhelm the missile defence systems that we have envisioned”.
He said he would tell the Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet at the upcoming NATO summit April 2-4 in Bucharest, Romania, that missile defence elements will be aimed at repelling threats from the Middle East and not at Russia.
Bush is due to meet the Russian president over the weekend in the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the last time before Putin leaves his post.
He said both countries needed to work together. “It’s in his (Putin’s) interest that we participate in sharing information - a missile from the east can fly north just as easily as it can fly west.”
The US intends to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic citing a threat from Iran and other “rogue states”, while Russia views these plans as a destabilising factor for Europe and a threat to its national security.
Recently, there has been some progress in the long-running dispute between the two countries over the missile defence issue.
During their visit to Moscow in late March, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered to let Russia monitor the proposed US missile and radar bases in central Europe.
Washington has offered not to activate the system until there is a “clear and present” threat from Iran or other potential adversaries.
“I think we’re moving in a direction…where Russia and the US could have missile defence as an area of strategic cooperation,” US National Security Advisor Steve Hadley told reporters Monday.
Last week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the US moves to ease Russian missile shield concerns, but said giving up the idea of opening new missile bases in central Europe was the best way of addressing Moscow’s unease.