Russia has officially opened a new anti-missile radar station in the Baltic Sea region of Kaliningrad to counter what it perceives as a threat from a joint U.S.-NATO missile defense system being implemented in Europe.
President Dmitry Medvedev opened the new facility Tuesday, saying it shows Russia's readiness for an adequate response to, in his words, “threats” posed by the European defense system. Washington says the missile defense shield is designed to enhance the security of U.S. allies in Europe as well as Russia, and to help deter and defeat long-term missile attacks from countries such as Iran.
In October, Russia's Foreign Ministry said the deployment of the missile shield brings a significant build-up of U.S anti-missile capabilities in Europe. The ministry is concerned the system could undermine Russia's security if the weapons can be targeted against Russian strategic nuclear forces, and wants legal guarantees that the system will not be aimed at Russia. But so far, the United States has been unwilling to provide such guarantees.
Mr. Medvedev says the Kaliningrad facility is not directed against the West and could be integrated into a joint NATO-Russia missile shield. But he also threatened to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad and other locations around Russia if an agreement is not reached.
Spain, Romania, Poland and Turkey have previously declared their intention to join the U.S. missile shield in Europe.
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