Russia says it may send bombers to Belarus to counter US shield

Other News Materials 6 August 2008 19:48 (UTC +04:00)

Russia could deploy strategic bombers and missile interceptors in neighbouring Belarus as retaliation against US plans to site a missile-defence system in Central and Eastern Europe, the country's ambassador to Minsk said Wednesday, reported dpa.

Moscow has declared its security imperilled by US plans to site parts of a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, steps Washington calls necessary to protect it from "rogue states" such as Iran.

"When Poland signs a treaty with the United States on the deployment of missile defence elements, then we will be in a position to discuss some additional aspects of military cooperation with Belarus," Russia's ambassador to Belarus, Alexander Surikov, was quoted by RIA-Novosti news agency as saying.

He said the Russian military was in talks to deploy strategic bombers and Iskander-M tactical missiles, but considering "no return of nuclear weapons to Belarus."

Moscow has maintained its closest ties with the former Soviet Belarus, but all nuclear weapons were withdrawn from the country after 1991.

In recent weeks, Russia's top military brass and field experts have publicly discussed a number of military scenarios to counter the perceived threat from the US missile shield.

Russian officials on Monday raised the possibility of renewing military cooperation with Cuba.