Putin Steps up Missiles Warning - 2007

Rice calls Russia: Soviet. Russia threatens to abandon military treaty. Putin warns of "mutual destruction." Cold War II is well under way...

Arevordi

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Putin Steps up Missiles Warning

2007

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that US plans to build a missile defence system in eastern Europe would raise the risk of "mutual destruction". Poland and the Czech Republic are keen to allow the US to site missile bases and radars on their territory. Mr Putin spoke a day after threatening to halt involvement with a treaty limiting conventional arms in Europe. "The threat of causing mutual damage and even destruction increases many times," he told Russian media. "This is not just a defence system, this is part of the US nuclear weapons system," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying. Mr Putin was speaking after meeting Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

Tough line

Mr Putin has taken a tough line in recent months over the US plans for missile defence. His suggestion on Thursday that Russia could suspend membership of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty was met with "grave concern" by Nato. Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the agreement was one of the cornerstones of European security. Mr Putin has accused the US of overstepping its "natural borders" and of his concern at the apparent increase in military bases and systems close to Russia's borders. As part of the its new missile defence programme, the US now wants to station 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, with radar operations in the Czech Republic. Mr Putin's use of the term "mutual destruction" harks back to the rhetoric of the Cold War, when strategists in Russia and the US relied at least partly on the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) to prevent nuclear war. The theory underpinned the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty of 1972, which limited the development of anti-missile systems. But the US withdrew from the ABM treaty in 2002, calling it a "relic" from a previous age.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...pe/6599647.stm

Slip of the Tongue as Rice Speaks of Soviet Missiles


CONDOLEEZZA Rice, the United States' Secretary of State, spoke yesterday of the "Soviet" nuclear arsenal in a slip of the tongue as she urged Russia to abandon Cold War thinking. Ms Rice was seeking to counter the belief that a proposed US missile shield in Europe might threaten Russia's nuclear deterrent, a view she has suggested reflects a "hangover" from the long US-Soviet standoff. Washington has angered Russia and unsettled some European allies with a plan to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland, and radar in the Czech Republic to help shield Europe from possible missile attack by nations such as Iran and North Korea. "The idea that somehow 10 interceptors and a few radars in eastern Europe are going to threaten the Soviet strategic deterrent is purely ludicrous and everybody knows it," she told reporters in Oslo, where she is attending a NATO meeting. Ms Rice said Washington wanted to keep discussing the issue with Moscow based on a "realistic" assessment rather than "one that is grounded somehow in the 1980s". A Soviet specialist, Ms Rice served on the White House National Security Council from 1989 to March 1991, during the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of communism in Europe and the waning days of the Soviet Union.

Source: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/inte...7&format=print

Russia Raises Temperature in East-West Military Row

Relations between Russia and the West have suffered another blow after Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced he was ready to pull out of a key arms control treaty, linking his decision to US plans to build a missile defence system in eastern Europe. "Our partners are conducting themselves incorrectly to say the least, gaining one-sided advances," the Russian president said in his annual state of the nation address on Thursday (26 April). Mr Putin went on to accuse the United States of "using the complicated situation to expand military bases near our [Russia's] borders. Moreover they plan to locate elements of a missile defence system in the Czech Republic and Poland." The Russian president suggested Moscow should freeze its commitments under the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty - signed at the sunset of the Cold War – which places limits on the number of conventional weapons and military deployments across the continent. "I consider it expedient to announce a moratorium on Russian fulfilment of this treaty until all countries of NATO, without exception, ratify this treaty," Mr Putin said. He was referring to the fact that NATO states had not ratified the 1999 updated version of the arms treaty, demanding that Russia first withdraws its troops from breakaway territories in Georgia and Moldova. NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he will seek further clarification of Russia's intentions during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers and Russian diplomats in Oslo this week. But Mr Putin's words have sent ripples of anxiety through the trans-Atlantic club. "[Russia's] message was met by concern, grave concern, disappointment and regret," Mr de Hoop Scheffer said. The US' plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic have put relations between the two world powers under the biggest strain since the Cold War ended, with Europe caught in the middle. Moscow does not accept Washington's argument that the system is to counter threats from Iran and has refused a US offer to allow Russian inspectors to visit the Polish missile silos to verify the story. Reacting to the Putin speech, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said it was "ludicrous" to believe that the US missile shield could be aimed against Russia. "The Russians have thousands of warheads. The idea that you can somehow stop the Russian strategic nuclear deterrent with a few interceptors just doesn't make sense," Mrs Rice said in Oslo, ahead of the NATO-Russia meeting.

Wider problems

While potentially the most worrying, the new east-west military dispute is not the only problem on the table: the EU, US and Russia also disagree strongly on the future of Kosovo. The EU and Russia are unable to start talks on a new bilateral treaty, with new EU states like Poland and Lithuania complaining that Russia is using trade and energy as political weapons against its old vassals. But even on a day-to-day level, EU-Russia talks seem to lack goodwill, with the German EU presidency refusing Moscow's request to discuss Polish lustration as part of a human rights dialogue at a working group meeting with Russia on 2 May. "Our discussions look like a Turkish bazaar - if we present a list of discussion points they don't like, they barter, by putting forward their own list," an EU official told Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

Source: http://euobserver.com/9/23953

NATO Tests Putin With Talks on Expansion

After tempestuous talks with their Russian counterpart on missile defenses, NATO foreign ministers on Friday turned to other issues that risk upsetting Moscow — Kosovo , the further expansion of the Western alliance and a drive to build closer relations with Ukraine. On Thursday, the NATO allies expressed concern over Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘s declared intention to freeze compliance with a European arms control treaty. The Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty limits the number and locations of military aircraft, tanks and other non-nuclear heavy weapons around Europe. Withdrawal would allow Moscow to build up forces near its borders. "Our partners are behaving incorrectly, to say the least," Putin said in his state-of-the-nation address on Thursday. "In case no progress is made during negotiations, I propose to discuss the possibility to end our obligations." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice fired back by insisting Moscow should live up to its obligations under the treaty. She called Russia‘s concerns "purely ludicrous" in a news conference at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo, Norway.

"We cannot be unconcerned by the fact that NATO military infrastructure is creeping up to our borders," Lavrov said at a news conference after a NATO-Russia meeting in Oslo. "They are still looking for an enemy."

However, a Kremlin spokesman said later that Russia would not pull out if it could reach accommodation with the West. And Russian military experts suggested the threat was a symbolic raising of the ante in the missile shield showdown more than a sign of impeding military escalation. Russia has no actual interest in a buildup of forces because it faces no real military threat and has no plans to launch any attack, they said. Moscow has opposed successive enlargements of NATO into Eastern Europe. NATO‘s likely expansion into the Balkans does not please Russia, but the Kremlin has been much more concerned about the prospect that its neighbors Ukraine and Georgia also may be brought into the Western alliance. Ukraine‘s pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has put the country‘s NATO membership on hold, but Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will join the NATO talks to discuss closer cooperation with the alliance. However, the talks are overshadowed by the political standoff in Ukraine between supporters of Yanukovych and pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko.

The Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty was signed in 1990 and amended in 1999 to reflect changes since the breakup of the Soviet Union, adding the requirement that Moscow withdraw troops from the former Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia. In his speech to parliament and government officials, Putin accused NATO members of taking advantage of the situation to build military bases near Russia‘s borders, and said the missile defense plans for the Czech Republic and Poland were undermining the balance of military power in Europe. "It is high time that our partners proved their commitment to arms reductions not by words but by deeds," Putin said. "I consider it worthwhile to declare a moratorium until all NATO countries ratify (the treaty) ... and begin to strictly abide by it." Rice repeated U.S. assertions that any defense system in Europe would be useless against Russia‘s enormous missile arsenal and urged Russia to accept U.S. offers to cooperate in combatting new threats, notably from Iran and North Korea . She insisted that Russia, Europe and the United States were all at risk from Iran developing long-range missiles. She said the U.S. would continue efforts to "demystify" the plan for the Russians by pushing an offer to share data and technology with Moscow.

Source: http://www.localnewswatch.com/benton...news&id=102927

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