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U.S. plans to deploy an air defense system in Eastern Europe will compel Russia to take certain precautions
U.S. plans to deploy an air defense system in Eastern Europe will compel Russia to take certain precautions, the Russian defense minister said Thursday The United States has ambitious plans to deploy a network of anti-missile systems across the world to protect itself and its allies against threats from countries such as Iran and North Korea, and there has been speculation they will be based in at least two former Communist-bloc countries, which Russia sees as a threat to its national security. "I would not want to create the impression that we are afraid of that," said Sergei Ivanov, who is also a Russian deputy prime minister. "It will require some modification in our force development policy, and Russia will need to take some precautionary measures." Russia said last week it wants the U.S. to clarify its plans for the deployment of its anti-missile shield in Europe. "The issue should be clarified," said Army General Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces, "whether the missile defense system in Europe will be developed jointly with Russia, or whether it will be a segment of the U.S. national system without Russia's participation." It was announced in September that the 26 NATO member countries had completed a feasibility study on a common missile defense system, and had reached the conclusion that a missile defense for Europe is workable. Although the U.S. has not yet officially proposed to Poland that American missile defense elements be deployed on the European country's territory, Polish presidential aide Andrzej Krawczyk said any possible deployment in Poland will not threaten Russia. Moscow earlier voiced concern over the proposed deployment of an anti-missile system, with Sergei Ivanov hinting that the U.S. has its own goals for the program. "The purported goal [of the deployment] is to intercept Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have never existed and will not exist in the foreseeable future," he said. NATO apparently has to make up its mind on whether to join the U.S. deployment project, and if not, the U.S. will address the issue with NATO members on a bilateral basis. Russia and NATO practiced October 16-25 a simulated scenario to repel a potential ballistic missile attack. It was the third joint exercise under the experimental concept of a joint theater missile defense developed by a special working group of the NATO-Russia Council. The previous exercises took place in the U.S. in 2004 and the Netherlands in 2005. The latest exercise, which involved 60 officers from 11 NATO countries, and about 80 officers from Russia, was supposed to lay the groundwork for a Russian-NATO field missile defense exercise scheduled for the fall of 2007.
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