Moscow: Russia’s foreign minister said that Moscow perceives the establishment of US missile defence sites in Europe as a signal that the United States wants to gain a nuclear superiority over Russia and said that the two nations need to negotiate new arms control agreements to strengthen mutual trust.
Sergey Lavrov, speaking in an interview published today in the daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta, dismissed Washington’s claim that its plan to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic was directed to counter a missile threat from Iran.
“If they talk about potential threats coming from Iran or North Korea, missile defense elements should be located in a different place,” Lavrov said. “We can’t help noting that these facilities would be capable of intercepting missiles launched from Russia.”
He said that while “there is no talk about us launching the missiles,” the deployment of US missile defenses in Europe could encourage the United States to think in terms of getting a nuclear superiority over Russia.
“Since protection from the first strike would be guaranteed, as American strategists apparently expect, another temptation arises — to be the first to launch a strike, aware that a chance has emerged to go unpunished,” Lavrov said.
The statement was one of the strongest signals yet of a growing distrust between Moscow and Washington, fueled by differences over NATO’s eastward expansion, different approach to global crises and US concerns about Russia’s democracy record.