Russia may scrap n-arms treaty over US missile shield: expert

July 10th, 2008 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, July 10 (RIA Novosti) Russia may respond to US plans for missile defence bases in Central Europe with a host of measures, including the withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a senior military expert said Thursday. President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday Russia would respond to the US missile shield programme in Central Europe, adding Moscow was “dismayed” by the signing of a US-Czech missile deal. He did not specify what steps Russia would take.

In an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily, Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a former commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, said Moscow could deploy tactical Iskander-M missiles in the Kaliningrad region.

The Iskander-M missiles could reach US ground-based interceptors in Poland. Moscow could deploy strategic bombers, mainly the Tu-22 M3s, armed with long-range cruise missiles.

He said Moscow could also call a stop to the disbanding of a missile division based in the town of Kozelsk, central Russia, in accordance with the US-Russian Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (May 2002), and deploy advanced hypersonic missiles there, which can effectively penetrate missile defences.

Gen. Yesin stressed such measures would not be in conflict with Russia’s international obligations.

Moscow has strongly opposed the possible deployment by the US of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as a threat to its security and nuclear deterrence.

Washington says the defences are needed to deter possible strikes from “rogue states”.

The Czech president Wednesday said he was ready to put his signature to a US-Czech missile shield agreement.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg signed an agreement Tuesday on the deployment of a missile-tracking radar on the Czech soil.

First deputy foreign minister Tomas Pojar said the Czech parliament could ratify the deal by the end of the year.

Russia has offered the US the use of its radar stations in Armavir in southern Russia and Gabala in Azerbaijan as alternatives, but Washington said they could only be used as “supplements”.

Schwarzenberg earlier said NATO could discuss the possible use of the Gabala radar after Russia’s lease expires.
RIA Novosti

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