Russia FM: US Shield Is to Spy on Russia
Russia's foreign minister suggested in an interview broadcast Friday that the United States wants to install an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe to spy on Russia, not to defend Europe from Iranian missiles as. Washington claims. Russia has responded angrily to U.S. proposals to base elements of a missile-defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland, and proposed instead that the United States use the Russian-leased Gabala radar in the ex-Soviet state of Azerbaijan, which sits between Russia and Iran. American technical experts visited Gabala this week and U.S. officials said afterward that the radar's technology is outdated and could not replace the Eastern European elements. The issue has grown into one of the most serious roiling ties between Moscow and Washington. When our American partners say that Gabala cannot be an alternative to a radar in the Czech Republic, I understand them, because the Gabala radar cannot see Russian territory from its western borders to the Urals ... A radar in the Czech Republic can," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on state-run television. The Gabala facility points south toward Iran. Elements of an anti-missile system placed in the Czech Republic and Poland would point east and presumably overlook the western half of Russia. Lavrov repeated Russian arguments that building the missile-defense system will likely spark a new arms race. "We see a threat and we are preparing a response to it," he said. "And this for sure will stimulate the scientists on that side of the ocean, the military-industrial complex, to build some sort of more effective type of weapons. But our guys also won't be sitting on their hands."