Russian missile deployment plans "disappointing," US says

Other News Materials 5 November 2008 23:10 (UTC +04:00)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's announcement Wednesday of plans to deploy missiles in its Baltic Sea enclave to counter the US basing of a missile-defence system in Eastern Europe is "disappointing," the US State Department said, dpa reported.

"The steps that the Russian government announced today are disappointing," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

McCormack repeated US assertions that the 10 interceptor missiles planned for deployment to Poland and the radar system to the Czech Republic does not threaten Moscow's vast strategic nuclear arsenal. The shield is designed to protect against Iran's growing ballistic missile capability, he said.

"This is not directed at (Russia)," McCormack said. "Hopefully one day they'll realize that."

In a speech Wednesday, Medvedev blasted what he termed US aggression in the world through the enlargement of NATO and the missile-defence system, and accused Washington of stoking the August conflict in Georgia.

US-Russian relations began the slide to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War after the United States announced plans to deploy the missile-defence system in 2006.

Moscow views the plans as a threat to its nuclear fleet and has promised to target the sites in the two Eastern European countries. Medvedev said Moscow will place an unspecified number of short-range Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania.