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|Iskander high-precision missile system in place during|
military exercises (RIA Novosti / Alexey Danichev)
Among other measures, Russia already promised to deploy short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad Region if NATO fails to reach agreement with it on missile defense. Russia has concerns that the ultimate aim of America’s global ABM shield in the works is the gradual depreciation of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Moscow says no country possesses any militarily significant quantity of nukes to pose a vital nuclear threat to the USZ other than Russia. Political analyst Vladimir Orlov thinks that missile threats against Europe, which the shield is supposedly designed to counter, are “very much exaggerated.” “Missile threats by those countries which Americans and Europeans claim develop long-range missiles, it is just not credible. Europe should not feel vulnerable and the issue is that Russia instead of Europe now feels vulnerable”, he asserted.
Moscow's proposition to develop a joint European missile defense system has been turned down. Also, the Obama administration refused to give cast-iron guarantees that the new ABM is not going to be deployed against Russia. The Russian Defense Ministry has organized a representational international conference called “Missile Defense Factor in Establishing New Security Environment” on May 3-4 in Moscow to correlate positions of many interested states on the burning issue of missile defense. Over 200 experts from military departments of 50 countries, including 28 NATO states, have gathered in the Russian capital to share opinions. Opening the conference, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov stated that so far no mutually-acceptable solution to the issue of ABM has been found. “The situation is practically heading towards a dead end”, acknowledged Servdyukov.
At the same time, the Russian president sent an address to the conference, sharing hope that a solution can be found. “I believe we can find a formula which could help us avoid the division into those who win and those who lose”, President Medvedev insists. The conference consists of several working groups. Russia’s Ministry of Defense is going to present a computer model of how the American ABM in Europe is going to influence Russia’s forces of nuclear containment. Besides Russia and NATO member countries, experts from China, South Korea, Japan and CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) member states will participate in the Moscow conference. As a goodwill gesture, Russia wants to make an excursion for the delegates to the heart of Moscow’s A-135 ABM system near the Russian capital. No official documents are going to be signed as a result of the ABM conference in Moscow.
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