Russia against U.S. missile shield elements in Black Sea

Russia is opposed to deploying sea-based missiles and radars of the planned U.S. missile shield in Europe in Turkey’s Black Sea region, Russia’s envoy to NATO said on Thursday.

Dmitry Rogozin, who is in the Turkish capital of Ankara as part of the NATO capitals’ tour for missile defense talks, said Russia was against deploying naval forces of countries “that shake their weapons and have no relation to the Black Sea basin.”

“The Black Sea has always been a sea of friendship and cooperation and it should remain so in the future,” Rogozin said.

Russia and NATO have agreed to work on the missile shield but NATO wants it to be based on two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

Rogozin said NATO planned to deploy a radar integrated with the U.S. missile defense system on Turkish territory.

“As a country that has outlets in the Mediterranean and Black seas, Turkey would have to decide on whether to allow American sea-based missiles to be deployed there or not,” he said.

Rogozin is meeting with Turkish diplomats and defense officials, and said he would also brief President Abdullah Gul of the details of Russia-NATO talks on the missile defense system.

“Turkey is an extremely important player both in NATO and in the entire European Atlantic region. It is the rising star of Eurasia,” Rogozin said, adding that Russia and Turkey had much in common to be able to negotiate productively.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. 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.

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