Senior official reaffirms Russia’s stance on US missile shield

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

(Interfax – Brussels, May 1, 2013) In the Russian-US agreements on missile defence, transparency and confidence-building measures should be part of a package of solutions that could satisfy the Russian side, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has said.

Antonov was in Brussels today answering journalists’ questions on proposals, allegedly contained in US President Barack Obama’s letter handed over to (Russian President) Vladimir Putin by the US president’s national security adviser Thomas Donilon, of written guarantees on the US missile shield’s transparency, in place of Russia’s demands of legally binding guarantees that the shield will not be aimed at Russia.

Antonov said it would be inappropriate to comment on a letter by one head of state to another.

However, he said that “in principle, the idea of transparency and confidence-building measures is a good idea”.

“But it will be impossible to solve all the problems through transparency alone. Transparency and confidence-building measures should be part of a package of solutions that could satisfy us,” Antonov said.

He said that the US side justified the impossibility of providing legally binding guarantees that the US defence shield will not be aimed at Russia by saying that the US Congress would not ratify such a document, because some congressmen were planning to use the missile defence against Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

In these conditions, Russia’s policy is all the more correct and Russia will continue to insist that Washington should finally decide what Russia is for the USA – “a partner, a fellow traveller, a passer-by in your life, or we still have something in common that will allow us to solve the problems of strategic stability”.

“I am firmly convinced that, speaking about Russian-US relations, we have more things that unite us. We are permanent members of the UN Security Council, we have special responsibility for peace and security, and I think that the main problem which exists today and with which we are fighting together with the Americans and other countries is the danger of terrorism taking hold of weapons mass destruction and materials for manufacturing such weapons,” Antonov said.

According to him, “here is a great scope for our cooperation”.

“And when questions arise on missile defence, when one country tries to strengthen its security at the expense of another, it undermines all prospects of cooperation in many areas,” Antonov said.

He recalled that there were Russian proposals on how to resolve the problem of missile defence.

“In principle, we are not opposed to missile defence, we never said that it should not exist under any circumstances. No. There is Theatre Missile Defence; we carry out stuff exercises in this area with the Americans and NATO,” the deputy minister said.

“But we are saying that one should not build defensive systems at the expense of weakening the defence potential of another country. In particular, I’m talking about the USA and about Russia. This is what we seeking,” Antonov said.