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17:15 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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NATO 'fig leaf' for U.S. missile defense shield Russian envoy

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NATO's only role in the proposed missile defense shield for Europe is the cover it provides the U.S., Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.

NATO's only role in the proposed missile defense shield for Europe is the cover it provides the U.S., Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.

NATO is the fig leaf for "a missile defense umbrella that says 'Made in USA,'” Rogozin said.

“European NATO members will have neither a button to push nor a finger to push it with,” the envoy said, adding that Russia continues to insist on guarantees - from the United States - that the shield is not directed against Russia.

“We would like to receive clear and long-term assurances that there will be no actions on NATO’s part that would lead to the use of this system against Russia's deterrent capability,” Rogozin said.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile defense system at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

NATO has said it was ready to offer Moscow written assurances that the European missile shield being built is not directed against Russia but has refused so far to provide the legally binding commitments demanded by Moscow.