Medvedev: Missile shield remarks forced measure, not electoral rhetoric

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

From RIA Novosti:  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday plans to put offensive weapon systems on Russia’s borders to counter a planned European missile shield were not electoral rhetoric but a forced measure.

"The statement has no tactical or pre-election implications, as some opposition members put it," Medvedev said. "It was a thoroughly considered decision, and, to put it bluntly, I was in fact forced to make it. . . ."

"All our military specialists are convinced that the proposed European missile shield configuration will impair the world’s strategic parity and the relations that we recently had, including the [New] START Treaty," Medvedev said. . . .

Medvedev said on Tuesday the radar in Kaliningrad, capable of monitoring missile launches from the North Atlantic, as well as the U.S.-backed future European missile shield, should be treated by the West as the "first signal" of Russia’s readiness to counter "threats" posed by NATO’s missile defense plans.

"Other measures have also been announced," he added. "If the events continue to unfold in this direction, we will have to respond. And we have both material and military bases for it."  (photo: Sergey Guneev/RIA Novosti)

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