Russia wants legal assurances from US on missile interceptor placement

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty Source: Global Security Newswire Russia on Tuesday said its strategic security would be undercut by a plan for Romania to host U.S. missile interceptors, the New York Times reported (see GSN, May 3). Bucharest and Washington this week said they had agreed to establish an interceptor facility at the Daveselu air base near Romania's border with Bulgaria. The interceptors are slated for installation by 2015, in accordance with the Obama administration's Phased Adaptive Approach for Missile Defense in Europe. Russia, though, said the decision conflicted with U.S. pledges to offer Moscow a voice in the system's planning. The Kremlin also called for formal U.S. assurances that the planned European missile shield would not be trained on Russian missiles (Shanker/Barry, New York Times, May 3). "In this situation the necessity of legal guarantees from the United States that (its) missile defense system … will not be aimed against Russia's strategic nuclear forces becomes even more crucial," RIA Novosti quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying. "This issue should be resolved swiftly. Moreover, we are sure that it is necessary … to proceed to the coordination of the concept and the architecture of the European missile defense system as soon as possible" (RIA Novosti, May 3). U.S. government sources dismissed Moscow's grievances, noting a call by Washington and NATO for Russia to contribute to a collaborative antimissile framework for the European continent, the Times reported. The Obama administration has said that its effort is aimed at protecting Europe from missiles fired from the Middle East, in particular Iran. [Full story]

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