NATO Regrets Russia’s Stance on European Missile Shield

NATO member states voiced their regret over Russia’s stance on the military alliance’s mooted missile shield in Europe, reiterating that the shield is not threatening the Russian national security.

“NATO missile defense is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities. NATO missile defense is intended to defend against potential threats emanating from outside the Euro-Atlantic area,” said a joint declaration issued after the NATO summit in Chicago.

Relations between NATO and Moscow have grown sour lately over the alliance’s European missile shield plans, but the sides have cooperated closely in the war in Afghanistan.

“While regretting recurrent Russian statements on possible measures directed against NATO’s missile defense system, we welcome Russia’s willingness to continue dialogue with the purpose of finding an agreement on the future framework for missile defense cooperation,” the declaration said.

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.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday announced the “first step” in the European missile defense system.


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