Moscow recapitulated its position on European missile defense Monday, saying it will reserve the right to retaliate unless it receives legal guarantees that a NATO missile defense will not be directed at it.
“In response to our strong demand to provide the Russian Federation legal guarantees that the system will not be aimed at Russia we have received no guarantees,” said Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council.
Russia has not closed the issue and is in ongoing dialog with NATO, she added.
Moscow has often heard assurances that the European missile defense system is not aimed against it, she said, adding that “we will not be guided by empty declarations but by the system’s military-technical specifications.”
“So far no one has provided us any serious arguments in favor of placing missile defense elements in Europe near the Russian borders,” Matviyenko said.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday announced the “first step” in the European missile defense system.
Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said in early May that Russia does not exclude a preemptive strike against a NATO missile defense system in Europe as a last resort.
The United States and NATO agreed to develop the system at a summit in Lisbon in 2010, but talks between Russia and the alliance have floundered over NATO’s refusal to grant Russia legal guarantees that the system would not be aimed against Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent.
NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.