Russia has invited US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey to Moscow for talks that will include the missile defence issue, his Russian counterpart General Valery Gerasimov said.
“Missile defence will be one of the points of our discussion,” Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said at a meeting with foreign military attaches.
There was no comment on the proposed visit from the US.
Gerasimov said Russia and NATO have achieved “good results” in a number of areas of cooperation, although there are still a number of disagreements between the two sides, including on NATO enlargement, the building of NATO military infrastructure near Russia’s borders and deployment of a missile defence system in Europe.
“We are not challenging NATO’s right to provide a missile defence shield for itself, but cannot agree that this should be done at the expense of Russia’s deterrent capability,” he said.
Russia is planning to hold an international security conference in Moscow in May to which defence ministers from EU countries, the US, Canada and other states, as well as the heads of international organisations such as NATO, the EU, the CSTO, and the OSCE, have been invited, Gerasimov said.
He also said the General Staff would like to establish effective cooperation between the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and NATO to counter threats coming from Afghanistan.
Russia and NATO initially agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile defence system at the Lisbon summit in November 2010.
However, further 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 US insist the shield is designed to defend NATO members against missiles from emerging threat nations like North Korea and Iran, and would not be directed at Russia.
The alliance has vowed to continue developing and deploying its missile defences, regardless of the status of missile defence cooperation with Russia.
The final phase of the so-called European Phased Adaptive Approach envisions the deployment of US SM-3 Block IIB interceptors by 2020 “to help better cope with medium- and intermediate-range missiles and the potential future ICBM threat to the US”.
Russia has threatened a range of countermeasures against NATO’s missile defences, including tactical nuclear missile deployment in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and improvements to its strategic nuclear missile arsenal.