Russia warns NATO against going alone on missile defence
A planned missile defence system to be deployed in the NATO region would directly threaten Russian national security and the Kremlin "strongly advises" Brussels not to go forward with it unilaterally, a senior Russian official said Monday.
"Real strategic partnership would not be possible," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "Russia would have to respond."
Russia's senior diplomat made the comments at a NATO-Russia Council meeting held in the Russian Black Sea resort city Sochi, DPA reported.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen acknowledged that there are still many obstacles existed between the two sides on the issue and called negotiations with Moscow on missile defense "complicated," according to Interfax.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was expected to attend the one day meeting.
A US-led plan to deploy a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which is strongly opposed by Russia, was likely to be the main topic of the talks, according to Russian media reports.
Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said a NATO decision to go ahead with the missile defence system in its present form, without consulting with Moscow, would have "serious consequences"
Russia in retaliation could deploy its own missile defence system on its western border, deploy short-range nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at Europe or withdraw with a strategic weapons limitation treaty recently concluded with the US, he said.
"The implementation of such a scenario does not depend on who to the presidential election in 2012 or sits in the Kremlin," said Rogozin.
Moscow officials said they also were looking to obtain a "clear position" from NATO on the alliance's military support to rebels in the Libyan civil.
Russia has repeatedly criticized months of NATO air strikes against Libyan government forces as a violation of a UN charter to protect Libyan civilians, as it backs one of the sides in Libya's civil war.