US targets missile defense against Russia – NATO envoy

The US-sponsored European missile defense system will be aimed at Russia, and some American politicians openly state that, the Russian permanent representative to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, has said.

The diplomat’s comments were made to Interfax news agency in regards to the outcome of his recent trip to Washington, in what was yet another attempt to reach a compromise over the missile defense system – the prickliest thorn in relations between Russia and the US.

“Provided that there is enough political will, the current situation surrounding European missile defense could be turned around and made stable, predictable, and open up unique chances for cooperation,” he is cited as saying. “But we see that the democratic administration is in the grips of an internal political rivalry, and that the forces pressing on President Barack Obama do not care about cooperation with Russia on missile defense, nor are they concealing their plans to orient this missile defense toward blocking Russia’s strategic nuclear potential.”

On Thursday, Rogozin arrived in Ankara, while on the Turkish leg of his trip to the alliance member-state capitals, to discuss missile defense. It is expected that during the visit, Rogozin will hold talks with representatives from the Turkish Foreign Defense Ministries, as well as with President Abdullah Gul.

“We are against the deployment of any elements of the US missile defense system in the Black Sea and the [surrounding] region, even if it does not infringe on our interests,” the envoy said, as cited by Itar-Tass agency. He noted that the Russian leadership is opposed to the stationing of any navy vessels from countries that are not related to the region on the pretence of developing the missile defense system.

“The Black Sea has always been a sea of friendship and cooperation, and it should remain as such in the future,” Rogozin pointed out.

According to the diplomat, it is planned that a radar capable of tracking objects over a territory of several thousand kilometers will be placed on Turkish soil – supposedly in the south-east of the country.

Rogozin also recalled that his American counterparts had said that they were not planning to deploy stationary interceptor missiles in the republic.

“However, if cruisers with respective armament would be located even five kilometers off the Turkish coast, it would be the same as deploying these facilities in the republic, since their range is 2-2.5 thousand kilometers,” he observed.

According to the ambassador, Turkey would be directly involved in the creation of the missile defense system, as well as in issues related to the presence of vessels in the Black Sea. Rogozin thanked Turkish diplomats for their firm stance regarding the fulfillment of the Montreux Convention. It gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles, as well as regulates military activity in the area by banning the passage of non-Turkish military vessels.

One of NATO’s explanations for the need to create the missile defense shield is to protect Europe from the Iranian threat. Speaking in Ankara, Rogozin stressed that fears of a possible attack from the Islamic Republic are groundless.

He said that Russia has been supporting Iran in the development peaceful nuclear energy. “We know for sure that the state does not possess any weapon that could pose a threat, including to us,” Rogozin noted.“Any notion that Iran would use its missiles to attack Poland, or, let’s say Norway, are the ravings of a madman,” he pointed out, adding that those who speak about such a danger cannot be considered experts.

“An attempt to demonize Iran and to present it as “the bad guy” resembles Hollywood, but has nothing to do with reality,” Rogozin concluded.

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