Medvedev willing to sabotage US-Russia arms control unless agreement reached on NATO missile defense

A column of Russia

From Charles Clover and James Blitz, the Financial Times:  Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, has warned that a failure by the US to take into account Russian objections to a planned Nato anti-missile shield would spark a new arms race and derail efforts to improve frosty relations between Washington and Moscow. 

Accusing the US and its allies of ignoring the Kremlin’s concerns, he repeated a threat made in 2007 to deploy cruise missiles in Russia’s westernmost enclave of Kaliningrad, aimed at Nato missile interceptor batteries. . . .

According to Tomas Valasek, an analyst on European defence issues at the London-based Centre for European Reform, the new element in Mr Medvedev’s comments is his threat to sabotage the US-Russia arms control process.

“Mr Medvedev seems to be taking the debate on missile defence into the strategic realm of US-Russia arms control,” Mr Valasek said. “Here, the prize is to get a follow-on deal to the Obama-Medvedev agreement of 2008. The chances of success here are already low and these comments may push them lower. . . .”

The Phased Adaptive Approach was seen as less threatening than the previous Bush-era system because it was aimed at short- and medium-range missiles.

However, Russia is concerned about the last phase of the four-phase programme, scheduled for deployment in 2020, which would deploy an interceptor capable of shooting down ICBMs, which form the bulk of Russia’s nuclear deterrent.  (photo: AP)

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