Russia will boost its strike nuclear capabilities if NATO refuses to cooperate with Moscow in the European missile defense project, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.
The United States refused to comply with a Russian request that it provide legally binding guarantees that its European missile defense system will not be directed at Russia.
"I hope we will be able to forge a missile defense cooperation model," Medvedev told around 800 journalists at a news conference at the Skolkovo School of Management near Moscow. "If we don't, we will have to take retaliatory measures, which we do not want to have to do. This will mean forcing the development of our strike nuclear potential."
"This would be a very bad scenario, which would take us back to the Cold War era," the president added.
Medvedev reiterated a warning issued by the Foreign Ministry that Moscow may pull out of the New START disarmament agreement, which entered into force this year, in response to the United State's position on the shield.
"It is clear that the missile defense shield is directed at blocking the strategic capabilities of certain states," Medvedev said. "I understand that other states mentioned do not have Russia's [nuclear] potential and are unlikely to receive them in the coming years...So, it is directed against us."
Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile shield during the NATO-Russia Council summit in Lisbon in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system.
MOSCOW, May 18 (RIA Novosti)