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  Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Russian and NATO experts have shown big differences in assessments of the missile threat to European countries
Russian and NATO experts have shown big differences in assessments of the missile threat to European countries, NATO’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer had to admit Thursday at a news conference after a session of the Russia-NATO Council. Participants in the expanded session discussed U.S. plans to install elements of the national anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe. De Hoop Scheffer said the meeting was very productive and the sides could continue discussions at a conference of NATO foreign ministers, due in Oslo April 26 and April 27. Russia-NATO Council is also expected to have a ministerial meeting in Oslo on the same dates. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be present. Thursday’s meeting was the third one dedicated to the problem of ABM elements deployment in the Czech Republic and Poland and the first one where the sides declared their positions and grievances and made public some calculations. De Hoop Scheffer said Russia and NATO did not plan to take any decisions at this meeting or in Oslo, as the current objective is only to exchange information. Russian ambassador to NATO, Konstantin Totsky said in this connection the sides differ in assessments of a possible time when the missile threat may appear and on its potential scale. He indicated that the U.S. project for the Czech Republic and Poland consists of a radar installation and ten interceptors and is unable to defend Europe, since not a single country will risk to attack NATO’s member-states. An attack of this kind might require hundreds of missiles, but none of the countries in the Middle East have a potential for this. As a consequence, the U.S. will have to expand the system after it is installed, Russian experts indicate. This logic makes U.S. assurances of a local character of ABM deployment in Eastern Europe devoid of any value. Russia is ready to cooperate with the U.S. and NATO in the political, economic and diplomatic areas to prevent the emergence of those hundreds of missiles in the Middle East, Totsky said.
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