( RIA Novosti ) - Russian military will make decisions necessary for the country's national defense, in response to U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Central Europe, the Russian foreign minister said Tuesday.
Russia has responded angrily to U.S. plans, announced in January, to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic to counter possible missiles attacks from rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.
"Everything that we have done and will do is based on our responsibility and the responsibility of the Russian government to do everything possible to avoid new threats that Russia may be subjected to," Sergei Lavrov said. "That is why military planners have the right to make decisions, which are necessary to defend the country."
Speaking Friday ahead of a summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the United States' mooted missile bases in Europe would be part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and that Russia could be forced to aim its nuclear weapons at Europe.
"If part of the U.S.' strategic nuclear arsenal is located in Europe and our military experts find that it poses a threat to Russia, we will have to take appropriate retaliatory steps," he said "We will have new targets in Europe."
The Russian president is set to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush, along with other G8 leaders at Germany's Baltic resort of Heiligendamm, at the G8 summit from June 6 to 8.
Putin also said Washington's proposal to Russia to cooperate in the missile defense sphere was limited to Russia providing its missiles for target practice, which was an unreasonable offer.
"Our American partners want us to provide them with our missiles as targets, so that they can conduct exercises using our missiles. This is just brilliant. What a great idea they've thought up."
Russia already tested last week a new ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and a new cruise missile, saying the tests were part of Moscow's response to the U.S. anti-missile plans.