Russia raps U.S. missile shield proposals

Russia’s top general said on Wednesday compromise proposals Washington has offered to Moscow on its planned missile defense shield were not constructive, local news agencies reported.“What constructive negotiations can you talk about?” the agencies quoted Yuri Baluyevsky, Russian military chief of staff, as saying. “There was nothing new in these proposals.”

“We are being told: ‘All the same, we will push ahead with the (shield)’,” he said.

The United States submitted a package of documents to Russia last week setting out compromise proposals which it said were designed to soothe Russian concerns that the shield is a threat to its national security.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Wednesday “the U.S. proposals on paper are disappointing” and “are a significant step back” from what was discussed with senior U.S. officials in October.

“But at the same time, no one is rejecting a dialogue with the Americans,” Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.

Washington wants to station interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as part of a shield it says is designed to protect Europe from “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea.

Russia believes the shield is targeted against its missile arsenal and poses a threat to its national security.

Moscow has offered Washington access to data on missile launches from a Russian radar station and a second radar operated by Russia in ex-Soviet Azerbaijan, if Washington drops its missile shield plan.

But the Pentagon has made clear it sees the Russian radar offer as a supplement to its shield, not a substitute.

“Russia is being invited to become a ‘free supplement’ to the third positioning region of the U.S. missile shield (in eastern Europe,” Baluyevsky was quoted as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested there could be unspecified retaliatory measures if the shield goes ahead.

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