March 18, 2013 - 14:34 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Washington’s decision to scrap plans to place missile defense elements in Poland does nothing to address Moscow’s national security concerns and will not affect its stance on the issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview published on Monday, March 18.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said at a news conference last week that plans to place upgraded missile interceptors in Poland are being abandoned and that 14 new interceptors will be placed on the U.S. West Coast instead.
The announcement comes shortly after nuclear-armed North Korea terminated a peace treaty with South Korea, a U.S. ally. Hagel also cited development problems and funding cuts.
As RIA Novosti reported, speaking to the Kommersant daily, Ryabkov said there was no connection between Russia’s objections to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Europe and Hagel’s announcement.
“That is not a concession to Russia, nor do we regard it as such,” Ryabkov said. “All aspects of strategic uncertainty related to the creation of a U.S. and NATO missile defense system remain. Therefore, our objections also remain.”
Even a curtailed European missile defense system poses a threat to Russia’s nuclear capability, he said, adding that the Foreign Ministry sees no grounds for reviewing its official position.
Moscow will continue to press for the signing of “legally binding agreements guaranteeing that U.S. missile defense elements are not aimed against Russia’s strategic nuclear forces,” he said.