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No flexibility in missile talks says Russia
January 28, 2013, 10:10 am

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. [AP]

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. [AP]

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday he sees “no flexibility” in a dispute over US missile defence plans warning that should talks fail there would always be the danger of a new arms race.

“If we talk about the subject itself, it is extremely difficult. And so far we don’t see any flexibility. There are no easy solutions in terms of anti-missile defense.

“There is no flexibility. We have not changed our previous positions – the US has one opinion and the Russian Federation, unfortunately, has a different opinion. And these positions are not getting any closer,” Medvedev said in an interview with CNN.

“We do not want next generations of politicians in 2019 or 2020 to take decisions which would open a new page in the arms race. But such a threat exists and everyone in Russia and the United States should understand this, that’s why we still have chances to come to an agreement,” Medvedev said.

Washington has refused to provide written assurances that a missile shield will not be directed against Russia in legally binding documents.

“We clearly understand that if we do not have guarantees such as the pairing of our programs, that means that missile defense could also work against the Russian nuclear arsenal.

“What does this mean? This means that the parity, which we recorded with President Obama by signing the New START treaty (a very important and very helpful treaty, by the way: I think this is the achievement of the so-called reset), [the parity] is being cracked by that, because the missile defense – is a direct continuation of nuclear offensive capability, combat nuclear weapons,” Medvedev said.

US President Barack Obama was famously caught on a open mic in March 2012 telling then President Dmitry Medvedev to pass on to Vladimir Putin that he would have “more flexibility” after his re-election.

The United States says the disputed missile shield is designed to protect against “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea, but Russia is concerned it could be used to neutralise its own nuclear deterrent.

Russia has pledged to deploy a host of counter-measures to tackle any NATO missile defence shield in Europe, including forward deployments of tactical nuclear missiles in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.

Source: Agencies