U.S., Russia revert to cold-war rhetoric over missile-defense plan
Russia says that the proposed US defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, an initial agreement for which was inked this week, is targeting Russia, not rogue states.
A war of words erupted this week between the United States and Russia over a controversial US plan to deploy a missile-defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland. The plan has already strained US-Russia relations and encountered resistance from some in Europe.Skip to next paragraph
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The verbal spat between the US and Russia came after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday inked an initial agreement on missile-defense deployment with the Czech government in Prague, as reported by the Associated Press.
According to Reuters, Russia's Foreign Ministry responded to the news in a statement: "If the real deployment of an American strategic missile defense shield begins close to our borders, then we will be forced to react not with diplomatic methods, but with military-technical methods."
In reaction to that statement, the US criticized Russia for its "bellicose rhetoric," which it said was meant to intimidate the European partners of the US into backing out of the defense plan, according to the BBC. The report goes on to clarify Russia's statement.
The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington cites Russia's ambassador to the UN as suggesting that the phrase "military-technical means" does not mean military action, but more likely a change in Russia's strategic posture, perhaps by redeploying its own missiles.
The US has ambitious plans for a missile-defense system that would include advanced radar facilities in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missile sites in Poland. The US insists the shield is designed to protect against attacks from "rogue states" in the Middle East, such as Iran. A graphic made available by Agence France-Presse maps the US missile shield as well as proposed deployments.
But Russia has strongly protested, saying the deployment of the US shield would threaten its security by blunting the capabilities of its own missile force.
Proposals under discussion had included stationing Russian military officers at the shield sites and providing real-time video monitoring of activity at those sites.
"Even those half-hearted promises relating to confidence-building and monitoring measures which our American partners gave us have been in effect cancelled out by them," Interfax quoted the ministry source as saying.