Russian, U.S. military officials discuss European missile defense in Brussels

High-ranking Russian and U.S. military officials are meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday to discuss the possibilities for Russian-U.S. cooperation in the creation of the European missile defense network, Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.

The Russian delegation is headed by Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, and the U.S. negotiators by James Miller, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense, and Patrick O’Reilly, the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Rogozin said.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called Euro missile shield during the Russia-NATO Council summit in Lisbon in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

In late April, Commander of Russian Space Forces Lt. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko outlined Russia’s proposals for the future European missile defense network. He said it would be logical and efficient to create a network of “sector” defenses where each member state or group of states would assume responsibility for intercepting and destroying ballistic missiles over assigned territory.

Russia is ready to provide a “missile shield” over Eastern Europe, the Black Sea, the Barents Sea and the Baltic Sea, he said, adding that a decision to deploy missile defenses must be coordinated by a joint command center on the basis of information provided by a joint data processing center.

Ostapenko also stressed that Russia had no plans to place interceptor missiles outside its territory.

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.

BRUSSELS, May 2 (RIA Novosti)

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