US Missile Defense Plan Changes Linked to ‘Economic Issues’

BRUSSELS, May 15 (RIA Novosti) – A senior Russian military official on Wednesday attributed the recent review of the US missile defense plans in Europe to economic and technological problems.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in mid-March that plans for the final stage of Central European-based missile shields are to be scrapped and that interceptors will instead be placed in Alaska.

Those changes “are primarily linked to problems of an economic and technological nature,” Col. Gen. Alexander Postnikov-Streltsov, deputy chief of the General Staff, told Russian reporters in Brussels after a session of the NATO-Russia Council at the level of general staff chiefs.

He did not elaborate.

Russian concerns about those plans and their impact on Russia’s national security remain, he said, adding that Moscow is still interested in hearing more details from its US partners.

“Issues of the global missile defense system are closely connected with the missile defense system in Europe and we cannot consider them separately,” he said.

The US says that the positioning of interceptors in Alaska and an additional radar station in Japan are designed to provide further coverage from any possible missiles launched from North Korea, but Russia worries that any missile defense program undermines the integrity of its own military strategy.

Russia says it is pressing for “legally binding agreements guaranteeing that US missile defense elements are not aimed against Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.”


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