( Itar-Tass ) - Russia shrugs off responsibility for steps it can make in response to the deployment of U.S. missile defence systems in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with reporters from G8 states, mentioning, in particular, the possibility of retargeting Russian missiles at facilities in Europe.
"We want to be heard, to make our position clear, and we don't rule out that our American partners can reconsider their decision," President Putin said. "If this does not happen, we shrug off responsibility for our retaliatory steps, because it is not us who are initiators of an obviously imminent new arms race in Europe," he stressed.
"In case of the deployment of anti-missile defence systems in Europe we warn that there will be retaliatory steps. We have to ensure our security. And this process was not initiated by us," the president added.
"What are these steps? Of course, we must have new targets in Europe," he states. "What will be the means to hit these facilities, which according to our military pose potential threat for Russia - ballistic or winged missiles, or absolutely new systems - it is a matter of technique," he added.
Putin did not rule out the possibility of deploying Russian missiles in Cuba, for example. He said Russia was not planning anything of the kind, and it is known that some time ago it even dismantled its bases in Cuba. "We don't want any confrontations, we want cooperation, we don't need bases close to any country, we are not planning anything of the kind," he stressed.
He drew attention once again to the fact that it was not just an anti-missile defence system that was involved. "For the first time in the history elements of U.S. nuclear potential appear on the European continent: this is simply changing the whole configuration of international security," Putin stressed.
"The system of anti-missile defence on one side and the lack of such on the other side creates an illusion of safety and enhances the possibility of a nuclear conflict," he noted.
Putin criticized the USA for not discussing anti-missile defence plans either with Russia or inside the EU. "We often hear discussions on European solidarity and so on. What solidarity? Two countries just made a decision to deploy elements of anti-missile defence and that is all. Did anyone ask Europe?" he stressed. "Was there any common European decision?" Putin asked.
There could have been at least a NATO decision "just for a cover". "However, even if NATO had participated, it would not have changed things for us in essence, as we know very well how decisions are made in NATO," he added.
Putin said Russia had offered the USA to begin a dialogue on a missile defence problem. However, Washington refused at first. "Then, apparently under the strength of the circumstances and seeing some opposition to these plans in the world and in Europe, our colleagues and partners said 'yes, we want to speak with you,'" he said.
However, the Russian president considers U.S. offers laughable. "Our American partners want us to provide our missiles to them as targets so that they could train on our missiles. That's a dear!" he said.
"Some of my American colleagues, friends - people with big experience of political, international and state activity, reacted in the same way as you did - they laughed," he told reporters.
President Putin is sure there will be no serious offers on deep cooperation from the USA, as this system is being created as part of the U.S. nuclear potential.
Putin, who believes arguments in support of the missile defence shield are inconsistent, said he had repeatedly asked himself what was this system being deployed for. "May be especially for us to make these retaliatory steps? And to prevent Russia's further rapprochement with Europe?" he supposed. If so, "I believe that it is one more mistake, as we shall not improve international security and international peace in such a way," he said.