RIA Novosti

U.S. missile shield plans in Europe target Russia - expert

16:47 05/02/2007

Plans to deploy elements of a U.S. anti-missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic are aimed at Russia, a senior Russian military expert said Monday.

MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - Plans to deploy elements of a U.S. anti-missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic are aimed at Russia, a senior Russian military expert said Monday.

Washington officially proposed placing a radar network in the Czech Republic last month, and announced plans to open formal talks with Poland on the deployment of missile defense systems on its territory.

Gen. Makhmut Gareyev, president of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, said the plans are linked to NATO's expansion, violating the North Atlantic alliance's pledge that the bloc's military structure will not be extended to neighboring countries.

"NATO is expanding, and it is expanding directly toward Russia," he said, adding that the U.S. claim that the deployment of missile defense elements is aimed against North Korean or Iranian missiles "holds no water."

He said the main aim is to intercept missiles that Russia could launch in response to a possible act of aggression.

"The U.S. air-defense system will be able to destroy our missiles at launch," he said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said last month that U.S. plans to deploy missile shield elements in Poland and the Czech Republic were "a move in the wrong direction" that could threaten global security.

Moscow has always strongly opposed the deployment of a missile shield in its former backyard in Central Europe, describing the plans as a threat to Russian national security.

Russia said it will have to consider the presence of a U.S. missile defense base near its borders when formulating its foreign policy and developing its military strategy.

© RIA Novosti