MOSCOW, March 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has invited US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey to Moscow for talks which will include the missile defense issue, his Russian counterpart General Valery Gerasimov said on Wednesday.
“Missile defense will be one of the points of our discussion,” Gen. Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, told a meeting with foreign military attachés.
There has been no comment on the proposed visit from the United States.
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 defense system in Europe.
“We are not challenging NATO’s right to provide a missile defense 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 defense ministers from EU countries, the US, Canada and other states, as well as the heads of international organizations, 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 defense 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 United States 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 defenses, regardless of the status of missile defense 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 United States.”
Russia has threatened a range of countermeasures against NATO’s missile defenses, including tactical nuclear missile deployment in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and improvements to its strategic nuclear missile arsenal.