Moscow: A top Russian military official warned on Thursday Moscow had all the rights to a pre-emptive strike on the US-led missile system in Europe if US refused to engage in constructive dialogue over the issue.
“Considering the destabilizing nature of the [American] ABM system, namely the creation of an illusion of inflicting a disarming [nuclear] strike with impunity, a decision on pre-emptive deployment of assault weapons could be taken when the situation gets harder,” Press TV quoted Chief of General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces General Nikolay Makarov as saying.
Speaking at the Moscow Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) conference, Makarov said Russia had no intentions to deploy its missile defence programmes outside its borders.
“We did not and do not have plans to deploy Russian missile defence facilities outside of national territory. Such an approach would exclude the influence of Russian missile defence facilities on the deterrence potential of any state, a participant in the project,” he added.
Russia has repeatedly objected to the deployment of the missile system, saying Moscow is the main reason for the US-backed move, as it holds a significant number of nukes.
However, the head of the NATO delegation present at the ABM conference, Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Wershbow, said that Russia’s arguments did not convince him and that the US-led system would “never target Russia”.
Earlier on Thursday, Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said that talks between the United States and Russia over the European missile system have reached a dead-end.